Lemon drizzle cake with lavender

Yes, I have been using more of that lovely lavender infused sugar. Although I made this a couple of weeks ago now, I am just getting around to posting it!

So tasty!

I used the lemon drizzle recipe from The British Bake Off book which is very similar to this Mary Berry one (but they are all pretty similar I find). I missed out about 50g of the sugar and added in the lavender sugar, and baked as usual.

I tried to colour the lemon drizzle, but that did not really work so well! The reason why I love these cakes so much is that you make this lovely soaking syrup (water + lemon juice) and pour it over the warm cake. This adds to the lemon flavour, but also makes the cake so moist.

I was sent these cute little daisies from Dr Oetker, so I used a few to decorate. They are basically rice paper, so they are edible.

Perfect for afternoon tea. Although the lavender flavour is not very strong. Every now and then you would get a bite which tasted a bit of lavender, but really this tasted like lemon cake. I am going to try some biscuits next and hope that it comes through more. Fingers crossed. I am worried that it will go all soapy if I add too much, but so far I don’t think I have added enough.  I am having fun experimenting with it though.

This morning I had another gentle run- I feel so much better if I have been outside and had some fresh air, so I went on an out and back route (onto the fields for a bit)- out for about 1.85 miles, then turned around and straight back again. I could have stayed for much longer but I am conscious that I want to do a long run tomorrow and don’t want to be too tired.

My i-herb order arrived the other day- I used the last of my peanut flour the other week, and when I went on to look I saw they still had gingerbread tea in stock! How exciting! I then noticed that until the end of May they are doing an extra 5% off (I think you can get 10% off if your order is over $40, but seeing as the limit for importing to the UK is £15 I have not risked a more expensive order), so I have ended up ordering a few more things.

I watched the second episode of Eddie Izzard’s Mandela Marathon challenge this morning (if you follow my facebook page you might have seen I watched the first episode the other day)- I found it so interesting as I didn’t know much about the history of South Africa at all. Then I was off to The Waffle House to meet up with some friends- the weather was gorgeous so we had a little walk around the park after. Here’s hoping that we have plenty more days like this to come.

Any plans for the weekend? Anyone else enjoyed watching Eddie Izzard?

Here comes the sun (glasses)

I hope! It has been a bit dreary here the last couple of days, but I am hoping the weather forecast is right and some sunshine will be coming back. Although we were talking at the Sweatshop run last night (at that point it had stopped drizzling) and saying that this type of weather is good for running in. It ended up being a super tough run- we did “the hill” and as it was on pavements I decided to push it a bit (a lot). 3.7 miles in 34 mins (the hill really slowed me down at two of my miles were 8.50 ones, but the first one was 10.16- shows the difference!)- I was so tired after that (especially as I run up there and run home after too).

I had a freezer meal of sort of moussaka (lentils in tomato sauce, peppers, courgettes, grilled aubergines and a tofu/ sun-dried tomato sauce), plus an avocado.

And later on some lovely vanilla alpro with trail mix- delicious.

This morning I had a little recovery run- 3.1 miles in the drizzle, but I thought it would help my legs (it did) before going out for lunch with some friends.

Anyway, I would love the sun to come out as I the other week I found my sunglasses- they have not been worn that much!

I wear prescription glasses (and could not even face the idea of contact lenses) so I normally get a pair of prescription sunglasses at the same time. This time I kept them as I felt I had not worn them that much (one of my eyes got better, and one stayed the same, so I figured I would be OK to keep wearing them)- I got buy one get one free with actual glasses, although I have done this a few times and always end up favouring one pair over the other- anyone else do this?

I sometimes look at proper funky/ trendy sunglasses (like these ones from Cutler and Gross) as sometimes it would be nice to try a different look. Also I look at super cheap sunglasses in places like Accessorize as then it would not matter if I squashed them etc.  But mainly I would like “real” sunglasses for when I am running. I prefer to keep my glasses on, as I can see without them, but not as well (who knows how many times I would fall over if I couldn’t see properly!). In the summer it would be good to have some proper wrap around sunglasses that didn’t keep sliding down my face! I gave some to my brother for his birthday last year (they were for when he goes cycling- from Wiggle- but they would be perfect for running in too)- his were so fancy they came with 3 different lenses to choose from!

Fellow glasses- wearers; what do you do about the sunglasses dilemma? Do you wear glasses/ sunglasses when you workout? I keep mine on for pump so I can see the instructor properly, but during aerobics I leave them off as I worry they will bounce off. This leads to me never knowing if the instructor is asking me to count, or someone else, as I can see her face, but not where her eyes are looking!

*Post contains a sponsored link but all opinions are my own

Peanut chocolate crispy squares

I have made these before, and they are lovely. The recipe is from Angela, and I urge you to try it.

On Sunday I walked up to the shops (well, Aldi) and bought the few extras that I needed (rice crispies and coconut).

I normally use Nature’s Path puffed rice as it is a lot more natural, but these are not exactly a healthy treat so I wasn’t that worried! The original recipe calls for unsalted peanuts, but I decided that salted peanuts would go well in the mixture as it is very sweet (peanut butter, brown rice syrup and chocolate all melted together, plus cocoa powder, a little almond milk and vanilla).

They are then topped with a peanut butter “fudge” (basically peanut butter, melted chocolate and a little coconut oil).  I used a packet of Dr Oetker chocolate chips, and had some left so I sprinkled them on top with the coconut.

Seriously they are so tasty. I took them to a meet up on Tuesday and I think they went down well, although one of my friends is an amazing baker and she had also made chocolate peanut butter bars- we need to co-ordinate our baking a bit more!

On Monday I had a fab day. First thing I went out on a run- the weather was gorgeous.

Photo: Lovely morning for a run

I could not resist going on the fields.

Photo: Bluebells in the woods this morning

The bluebells were looking so pretty in the sunshine, and I heard two cuckoos!

I did 5.5 miles, followed by a shower and a breakfast of fresh fruit, muesli and a few puffins (might cave in and order some from i-herb although not sure if ordering cereal from across the pond is a bit extreme).

Then I was off to pick up my Mum on the way to the station. She had managed to wrangle some hospitality tickets for the play-off final (our family are Watford fans)- my Dad and brother were going with some of their friends. We went to a super posh buffet style restaurant (the waiters were all dressed like first class air hostesses and I have never had a table checked on so many times).

Photo: View from the ark restaurant at Wembley- a sea of yellow!

Our table had a lovely view and all we could see was a sea of yellow shirts streaming past. And of course the lovely sunshine. I had a lovely mixture of salads to start with, a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart for the main, and then a mini carrot cake and mini chocolate pecan pie, plus some fruit salad for dessert. We even had the option of half time and full time drinks, but we didn’t go for those in the end.

We were given a programme each, and a team sheet (it felt very strange indeed, not like we were about to watch a football match, more like we were off to the theatre).

Flames! When the players first came out! The noise was immense in the stadium, although it wasn’t a great match. It ended up feeling really awkward as in the hospitality bit you aren’t segregated (no football shirts are allowed) but we were with the Palace fans (well there was one row of 4 Watford fans a little in front) so it felt really strange. Shame that Watford lost, but we still had a good time. Also you can see in the picture how empty the middle tier is- I think a lot of people stayed in the bars and didn’t watch any of the match.

Also turned out we were sat next to Jay from the Inbetweeners (although I am not a fan of that show)- he was a Palace fan- we only realised when other people started asking him for photos.

Then the worst bit- heading back home. It always seems to take ages getting back out of London again.

It is such a shame the weather has taken a turn though. Yesterday morning I braved the allotment (the grass was actually 3 ft high in places, dandelions everywhere)- I ended up chopping loads of stuff down and pulling up a lot of weeds, and then ended up getting to my friends house late because I didn’t realise the time. My back was pretty sore, so instead of a run last night we went on a walk after dinner.

Right, that is a long enough post for now!

Running and rocking

So, where did I leave off last time? On Tuesday my legs were feeling better, so I went for a 3.1 mile run after work (I chose a new route which I thought would be about 3 miles, so I was very pleased when it ended up being a 5k)-I thought I was going slow, but I actually wasn’t that slow, and it helped my legs big time.

On Wednesday I went for the Sweatshop run, and found out we were doing the route through the fields. I didn’t want to go too hard as it is off road so generally tougher, and then a girl came along who hasn’t been since about November, so we ended up chatting for most of the run (she did so well seeing as she has done no running since then- we averaged 9.45 minute miles and didn’t stop to walk at all). I felt like I could have pushed harder, and I know she wouldn’t have minded me going ahead of her, but it was nice to have a social run for a change.

I was sent some lovely tea this week from the folks at Tea India. At the moment they are running a facebook campaign where they are giving away free tea.

Thursday was body pump- I had not been for 2 weeks so I found it pretty tough, During the jumps bit of the lunges track (you have to stand with your legs either side of a step, jump up and then land in a squat) I could not even keep up with the music by the end!

I made the batter for my post-run pancakes the night before- spelt flour, peanut flour, egg replacer, baking powder. I had them with coconut peanut butter, mango and coconut. Plus a cup of chai.

On Friday I had a rest day, and went to see my Nan after work. Then on Saturday we were up early for a run. Andy was coming with me, and I was worried I would slow him down as he has been running longer at the weekends while I was getting ready for the 10K last weekend. But it actually turned out really well- we averaged about 10 minute miles overall, and I did 8.7 miles in 1 hour 26 mins. Plus I looked back on the Garmin stats and my average time for a slightly shorter loop was around 90 minutes, so I am still doing OK for speed over longer distances. I felt pretty good- we went out before breakfast as I feel I run better then, and after about 6 miles I started to feel a bit hungry, but I still felt as if I could have carried on and run further. Although I did feel very tired later on.

I made us some chai banana milkshakes – one frozen banana, almond milk, some ice and a little chai syrup- so refreshing.

I did some housework and bits, but then spent some time chilling out in front of the TV, as we were then off to the Emirates stadium to see Muse!

Photo: Bonkers support "band"!

Dizzee Rascal was the support – I would not have put them together! We just enjoyed being outside as the weather was lovely. We could have stood on the pitch but we found some empty seats which had a better view (I can never usually see at gigs), plus we were both tired from our morning run!

Photo: I learnt 3 things tonight- Muse love fire, they hate bankers, and they have not seen Zoolander

Muse were amazing, as usual. Way back in 2000 I went to Reading festival, and Oasis (who I quite like) were headlining, but Muse were headlining in the tent, and I went to the Muse show, and it was just amazing (although back then I was right in the mosh pit! Now now!). We have seen them a few times since, and each time they are fab because they rock up their music, whereas some bands live their music is just like it is on the CD, only louder. They also utilised the open air aspect- those fire balls kept on going off. Some of it was a bit weird- there was one bit where a female actor (I think she was meant to be a banker?) came on to the stage and a petrol pump was raised up onto the stage, and she sprayed herself with petrol. Now, if I ever see that all that comes to mind is the bit in Zoolander where the models all do that and then die (also I end up with “Wake me up before you go (go?)” in my head, so I can only assume that no-one who planned the show had ever seen that film? Gave me a laugh anyway! It was a fantastic show anyway.

Today we have been taking it easy- I walked up to the shops in the afternoon, and did a bit of baking (more on that another day though), and spent time at both our parents’ houses. Tomorrow I am off to Wembley with my Mum, to cheer on the Golden Boys in the playoff final. I want to fit in a run before I go. I am feeling OK about the half marathon now (it is 2 weeks away)- I think I want to do a few 6 mile runs as my medium distance runs, and next weekend I want to do 10 miles minimum, and maybe a little more if I feel OK. I am sure I will manage the distance, but I don’t think I will break my Brighton time as it is a hilly course, and might well be a hot day. But I want to enjoy it and I feel that with some longer runs under my belt I will be able to do that.

Any Bank Holiday Monday plans? Any other Zoolander fans?

Afternoon tea blogger carnival

Sounds like my perfect afternoon out, right? If only it was a real event! In fact, Whittard are holding a virtual blogger event, where you can submit a post about afternoon tea (all the info is here) in the hope of winning some tea.

I love tea. I also love baking. I also love going to a tearoom for a tea and cake. I think it is just so civilised and relaxing. I sometimes get tempted by the full on tea (e.g. with the sandwiches) but my favourite part is the scone/cake, and of course the tea, so I usually just have that.

With that in mind, I am going to skip the sandwich part and go right to the scone and cake because these are the most important elements of afternoon tea!

You can have either part 1+2, part 1+3, or, if you are very hungry, 1+2+3. Just follow the steps for a lovely relaxing afternoon.

Part 1=Tea

First up, you need a teapot. Or at least a tea infuser, because honestly the best tea is loose leaf tea. Go for whatever tea you like. I love Earl Grey as I think it is delicate but also the tea counteracts some of the sweetness in the cake/scone. But peppermint is good too, especially if you fancy something caffeine free.

Warm the teapot with a little water, add the leaves to the infuser, and then fill it up and leave to brew. Of course, choose your nicest (biggest?) cups for the occasion.

Part 2 = Scones

Don’t worry, they were not all for me!

I think the violet icing on these lavender and lemon scones just makes it look so feminine – perfect for afternoon tea. They can just go on a plate, but what is the point of a cake stand if you never use it?

Part 3 = Cake

This is lemon drizzle cake, which again goes perfectly with the Earl Grey tea. Optional flower decorations (edible) but they make it even prettier.

Again, it was tea for two!

What tea/ cake combination would you choose for afternoon tea?