Monday, 29 October 2012

Feta Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I got a bag of twenty odd small sweet peppers for 50p on Leicester market. Absolute bargain and they all looked great. I decided to make myself an accompaniment for my Jenny Craig tea (I was allowed a fat and a protein extra, so feta cheese is on the menu) and ended up making the most yellow meal, possibly in the world ever.

It's pretty tasty though, and although relatively high in fat it is quite low in calories and great for other nutrients like Vitamin C, so I thought I'd share recipe with you.

Feta Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

Ingredients

13 small sweet peppers (I used yellow, but a mix of colours would be nice too!
100g feta cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp of olive oil
50g sweetcorn
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp paprika

Method


  • Preheat the oven to 200'C.
  • Mix the feta, egg, olive oil and spices with a fork until they resemble a paste. Add the sweetcorn and one of the small peppers, finely diced.
  • Cut the stalk out of the peppers and remove that and the seeds, taking care not to pierce the body of the pepper.
  • Stuff each pepper with the feta mixture.
  • Once stuffed, stand peppers upright in an ovenproof dish, so that the filling doesn't spill out during cooking.

  • Bake at 200'C for 15-20 minutes, until the stuffing is brown on top and firm. Mine weren't very brown as I knew some would be reheated again for lunch the next day so I didn't want them over-browned.
  • Serve three peppers per person. You could add anything to the filling - some sweated onions and mushrooms would be nice, or some fresh herbs if you had them to hand, or even some chorizo... Mmmm...


And the nutritional value of this wonder, per 3 peppers (e.g. 1 serving):
160 calories
10.2g fat
4.6g saturated fat
56.5mg cholesterol
12g carbohydrate
1.6g dietary fibre
0.3g sugar
8.9% Vitamin A
8.5% Vitamin B-12
17.8% Vitamin B-6
426.6% Vitamin C!
14.2% Calcium
5.3% Iron
7.1% Zinc

What do you reckon? Is this the most yellow food on Earth?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

#silentsunday

Trialling Jenny Craig: Sunday weigh in week 13

It has been my third week on Jenny Craig. I have once again had some meals out so I wasn't expecting miracles this week. I did try to make some sensible choices though. Sometimes. I have been contacted by my Jenny Craig consultant now though, although I missed the call this week because I was collecting my new bike from Nottingham... He seems pleasant enough and let me know that my eating style is a 'social eater' - useful.

Sunday

After my weigh in, the day started with porridge with apple and cinnamon. Then The Boy and I went out for a Sunday lunch which was delicious. I resisted additional starters, sides and desserts and just had the lunch. And a slimline G&T. And half a bottle of red. Oh, and a pint on the way home. Luckily, this all kept me full for the rest of the day and I just had my Jenny Craig thai chilli potato bites for tea and that was plenty.

Monday

Monday was a yoghurt and wholewheat flake morning, which is my least favourite breakfast, but it's OK. I'm not a big fan of yoghurt, so yoghurt flavoured things don't really float my boat. Still, it kept me going through quite a busy morning when I had the pot of thai red curry noodles with a salad consisting of lettuce, cucumber and pepper with a little cheese and salami.

Dinner was the Jenny Craig tomato and vegetable pasta, which I added courgette and aubergine to as well as a little fried off sausage and a spoon of creme fraiche.  It came to 426 calories, one of the highest calorie JC meals I've had and was by far one of the most disappointing, just really uninspiring food. This made me quite sulky for the rest of the evening!



Tuesday

Tuesday was a porridge start, which remains an excellent choice on these cold, wintry mornings. I don't know how enjoyable it would be on a warm summer's morning, but there you go! My lunch was a tangy tomato soup, my least favourite of all the soups, with a mixed leaf salad, artichoke hearts and a boiled egg. As you can imagine, the artichoke and the boiled egg were the redeeming factors to this meal and it was pretty satisfying, so I was not voraciously hungry by the time dinner time came around.


Dinner was a packet of beef meatballs with potatoes. I had made The Boy and I a load of aubergine and red onion with Moroccan spices which really added a bit of interest to the dish. The meatballs were a pretty good size and quite tasty too, so although this dish looked quite uninspiring as it went into the pan, I actually quite enjoyed it in the event.

It didn't look very big either, but was actually quite a good portion in the end - I guess because most of it was protein in the form of meatballs. I finished the day with a packet of the Jenny Craig ready salted potato crisps things - I reckon I could get quite used to having a bag of crisps every other day or so, but I'm not sure that is the attitude that Jenny Craig are trying to inspire in me!

Wednesday

Wednesday was another porridge start, this time with apple and cinnamon. Again, tasty, but they may as well drop the cinnamon from the title as you can't taste it! Lunch was pea and ham soup, one of the finer soups, and then for dinner I had the thick vegetable and green lentil dhal. This was one of my favourite meals of the whole programme. I had enough 'extras' that day to serve it with 1\2 cup of rice, a spoon of creme fraiche as well as adding a red onion and some peppers. It was delicious, and extremely filling. A good amount of spice and I actually felt on the verge of overful when I finished. I even considered leaving a few spoonfuls. But it was very nice, so obviously I didn't. I managed to force down a cereal bar a few hours later, whilst watching the TV. Very nice.




Thursday

Another yoghurty flake poor start was offset by lunch, which was a pot of noodles in mushroom and cream sauce to which I added the left over Moroccan aubergine and red onion. Delicious! I'm a big fan of anything in a creamy sauce anyway, so this was a good meal. The noodles were also a very thin pasta, rather than a noodle like the sweet and sour or red thai ones. Great meal and ready really quickly.

That evening we had a restaurant review to do - two courses and a bottle of wine between us, so things went out the window a little. But it was very nice and there was a good amount of vegetables served with it, so it wasn't all bad!
See, eating out with vegetables!
Friday

Friday there was no milk in, so no cereal for me. This led to a quiet sense of desperation through the morning, until the stroke of 12 when I could eat my pea and ham soup! I was, understandably, starving by the time I got home, so I used my starch and fat from lunch to have 20g of Pringles - woo hoo! They took the edge off my hunger and were delicious!

For dinner I had the Jenny Craig lasagne which, from the picture, I was quite excited to try. It was surprisingly disappointing - it tasted like a deconstructed tin of value ravioli, almost exactly! There was no cheesy or creamy element either. Sad times. The nicest thing was the pepper, okra and onion that the Boy made for me to go with it!! I had one of the milk chocolate digestive bars later on in the evening, which made up for it a little bit, but not really.

Saturday

I had to go to That London so I quickly wolfed down my muesli in the morning and headed out on the train. For lunch, I was pretty busy but I managed to grab a Tracker bar and a bottle of Pomegranate and Green tea at the Google offices (for free, very cool). I then took the opportunity to meet a friend and had a pint and some red wine in the afternoon (you can see why I didn't have much faith in a good result today!!) and then scurried on home. My tea was the chicken provencal with durum wheat, which the Boy made me some more peppers, okra and onion as an accompaniment.


Oh, and I had a packet of dried fruit on the train, also snaffled from Google, which were 85 calories and then a bag of Jenny Craig crisps in the evening... So imagine my surprise when I got up this morning, hopped on the scales and this happened:


The wii is telling me that I am now 8st 9lbs, which is actually more than a pound loss than last week, but I guess it's just a pound and a bit or something so the numbers all stack up. Seems to all be going in the right direction though...
Start weight: 9st 2lbs
Target weight: 8st 8lbs
This week: -1lb
Total loss: -7lb
Current weight: 8st 9lb
BMI: 22.35 (target 22)




Happy days! I think it really is my portion control that is making all the difference now, and also JC forcing me to make the right choices more often than not. I have one more week on JC now and then I'm on my own, so we'll see what lessons I have learned then. Hopefully I'll get rid of these last couple of pounds this week and then we'll move on to a weight maintanence blog and not a weight loss blog!

Many thanks once again to Life in a Breakdown for this most excellent linky:

Friday, 26 October 2012

I have new hair

Went out at lunch today to grab my groupon haircut so I thought I'd share it with you all. What do you reckon? I essentially have a fringe for the first time ever, although I am pulling it to the side a bit... You like? Am I on trend?

REVIEW: Le Bistrot Pierre, Leicester

I was very excited to be invited to review Le Bistrot Pierre, Leicester, as it has always been one of my favourite places to eat in the city. The Boy and I go there a few times a year, but always around New Year - it's become something of a tradition for us.

Bistrot Pierre describes itself as Casual Dining, and the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. Recently, they decided to ain't the whole building a rather odd lavender\lilac type colour which was very odd and actually rather gross, but now they have restored it to something less eye watering. Inside, the d├ęcor is more plain and clean than previously, which looks very smart but is less homely and rustic-French in feel than previously. They still have a couple of pieces of cookware and French art on the walls, but not as much as previously. However, it's still comfortable enough and the tables are in a better arrangement than previously so you don't have waiting staff squeezing by you the whole time!

We were seated after a brief wait at the front door. We had been invited to try the Early Bird Menu, which offers two courses for £13.90 before 6.45pm. We chose the bottle of Syrah La Garenne, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2011 to accompany our meal from the 'Spicy, Rich, Aromatic' section of the wine list. It is currently priced at £16.95 a bottle. I really like that they split the wines into different flavour groups like that. It made it really easy to narrow down which wines you were likely to enjoy the most, or to establish which wine was most likely to match your food order. The Syrah was just what it said on the tin, deep and mellow but also full of reserved dark fruit. An absolute winner for me, I just loved it and The Boy agreed. He joked that we would be needing a second bottle of it after taking his very first sip!

The restaurant was bustling, with a jovial yet relaxed atmosphere, and we were well attended to by the waiting staff who never made us wait long when we wanted to order something. The staff were also excellent at making recommendations - both for us and for other guests I heard them all talking knowledgeably about the menu, the ingredients and flavours and selecting excellent choices based on the customers requirements. For example, for my starter I was having trouble deciding between the roasted beetroot risotto and the Fromage Grille (the Saint Marcellin cheese was unfortunately off the menu and had been replaced with baked Camembert, which wasn't as interesting to me). The waitress recommended the cheese as the risotto was a bit heavier and so the cheese might go better with the chicken dish to follow that I had selected for my main. I must say I was a little sceptical as baked cheese sounded anything but light, but she was right!!


So here is my starter, the baked Camembert, served with red onion confiture and sour dough toast. Thankfully we were also brought more bread as we'd wolfed the first lot before the starters arrived as we were both starving! I really enjoyed the starter. There was perhaps fractionally more cheese than I needed for a starter, and way too much of the confiture for my tastes. It really was a red onion jam, so was extremely sweet. In some ways I felt this overpowered the cheese flavour to some extent - I wonder if the Saint Marcellin would be able to hold its own better. I would have preferred simple caramelised red onions on that basis, so there would be a more subtle sweetness to cut through the creaminess of the cheese. The rosemary sprig in the cheese was a nice touch, but had no flavouring effect, presumably because this is a small serve not a whole camembert and so therefore doesn't take so long to bake. Maybe more rosemary springs and also some slivers of garlic could be added to a slower bake? But these are quite nit-picky points, I genuinely enjoyed this starter.

The Boy ordered the Rillettes de Saumon, a rillette of fresh and oak smoked Scottish salmon with blini, lemon and baby capers. He's not the biggest salmon fan, so I was a bit confused that he ordered it, but he wanted to try capers as he's never had them before! He's an absolute sucker for trying something new, and we both liked the capers! Neither of us knew what a rillette was either, so it was with great interest that we watched this dish being delivered to the table! Turns out it is an almost pate like dish, which was served in a great tower on top of the blini. There was also salad and red onion served on top. The Boy was extremely happy with this starter. Even though he wouldn't normally choose salmon, he was positively enthused by this dish, remarking about the excellent balance of flavours, the high quality of the salmon and the bite of the capers. He said that he would happily choose that dish again, which is high praise indeed.



Our plates were cleared in good time and it was just a short wait for our main courses. I ordered the Poulet for main - pan-fried chicken breast with a cassoulet of smoked bacon, chorizo, flagolet beans and plum tomatoes. Our mains were served with a sharing portion of gratin potatoes and vegetables - in this case red cabbage, carrots and courgettes. I always would prefer a few more vegetables, but I guess that's the nature of French cuisine - they're not overly generous with the greens! 
As you can see, my main was presented beautifully. The chicken was excellent quality and had a really tasty, and noticeable flavour, which is unusual for chicken breast! The pan fried skin also contributed to the lovely flavour. The whole was swimming in a little too much olive oil for my taste, but of course it didn't impact on the flavour. The cassoulet was good as well, I love flagolet beans so that was great. I could only identify two little pieces of chorizo though and no bacon, so unfortunately those elements did not contribute to the flavour of the dish. That said though, it was an absolutely excellent main course. I was really very impressed, mostly with the quality and careful cooking of the chicken.


The Boy selected the Beouf a la Violette de Brive. This was a dish of braised Scottish beef, with red wine, leeks and mustard. The Boy was surprised that his leeks were served crispy and in a tower on top of the braised beef, but he enjoyed it. He said the mustard flavour was subtle and not overpowering, while the beef was excellently slow braised, tender and delicious. I always find that the braised beef dishes are really Bistrot Pierre's speciality - you can always guarantee it will be a great dish. 

All in all, our visit to Bistrot Pierre did not disappoint. I had high expectations and they were fulfilled - great wine, delicious, well presented food and friendly but relaxed service in a clean, pleasant environment with a quiet, but friendly atmosphere. It still remains high on my list of Leicester eateries and I could only give 9.5 out of 10 Extreme Points. I'd love to give them 10, but I'd love even more to see those slight tweaks to the menu to make it truly perfect. However, in terms of value for money you really cannot go wrong for food of this standard. Well done Bistrot Pierre, look at our satisfied faces and empty plates!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like

I could not resist but to share with the world that I have got my new, shiny, super-cool bike! It was a prize that I won because of an earlier blog post and with great thanks to Jenny Craig UK...

I have been cycling for nearly 9 months now, commuting to work every day and also cycling for pleasure at the weekends. The bike that I have been using for all this time is a little teenager's Raleigh mountain bike that I got off Gumtree for a song. It has done the job, but I have really felt recently that I should be finding the commute easier by now and not be so easily overtaken by others! I have suspected that it could be a consequence of my bike not being very good and things like having terribly rusted bearings, bald tires and so forth have encouraged that opinion.

But today I went to Evans Cycles in Nottingham and picked up my bike, using the gift vouchers I had won. As the bike was on sale, I could also afford a rack and some top notch waterproof panniers... My bike is a Dawes Duchess Limited Edition and I love it! I could have got it in brown, which probably would have looked slightly better but I refuse to pay an additional £15 for a different colour, it just seems so wasteful! And here it is...

In the words of Pink Floyd, it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things that make it look good! All the things I've never had before - a kickstand, mudguards for the prevention of muddy arse! It's a revelation! Admittedly so far I have only cycled it 4 miles home but I am completely in love! With the 17" frame, it is significantly bigger than my last bike, and of course this vintage style means that you ride with back straight and arms wide, which just makes me grin the whole time! It is massive though, at the moment it feels a bit like pedalling a tank (not selling a tank, riding a tank) and this is so much longer and wider than I'm used to that it very much feels like the closest I'll come to taking up a car's worth of space!

It's 7 speed - plenty for my needs, and the difference to my old bike is unbelievable. The big hill on the way home was barely noticeable to me, not the usual sweat-fest. I really couldn't believe that I was sat so comfortably and still overtaking other cyclists! Plus I now have two huge panniers, for moving around work stuff, shopping and in the summer it will be great for going on longer trips and camping! I am so unbelievably excited about the whole thing - can you tell?

Yes, I got home and brought it in the house.
Yes, The Boy still can't take very good pictures.

Sadly, one of the tires has the little cap missing :( I am going to email Evans and see if they can send me a new one - fingers crossed!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

#silentsunday

Trialling Jenny Craig: Sunday Weigh in week 12

Wednesday

As previously described, this week I have been sticking faithfully to my Jenny Craig food plan to make up for the weekend of food reviewing and being away on training that I have just had. And I've done really well at keeping on at it. I started off with some nice warming porridge with raspberry, which was good as it was a bit of a miserable day.

Wednesday lunch was a french style tuna salad which I heated up and then served with a cold salad. It was really tasty - there were little chunks of potato in there, lots of tuna and some sweetcorn. Not bad at all. And I'm sure you'll agree, it was one of the prettiest meals of the week with all the colour from the lettuce and the peppers and sweetcorn.

Wednesday night was a chicken chasseur with potatoes night, which I added a load of extra mushrooms and potatoes to. I was also allowed an additional fat serving, so I stirred in a spoonful of creme fraiche which made the whole thing taste really luxurious. This was a good day's eating, with a bag of the JC crisps for my snack in the evening I wasn't overly hungry at any point in the day.

Thursday

Thursday started off with more porridge, this time apple and cinnamon. You've seen pictures of all the breakfasts now so I haven't bothered taking any more. I'm getting to quite like the porridge days now, perhaps it's the time of the year meaning there is something quite nice about a hot breakfast.

Lunchtime was back to the Winter Vegetable Soup which I had with salad and a little bit of cheese to go with one of the extra fat portions. I've had this before and so long as you have plenty of stuff with it to bulk it out, the soup itself is actually very nice. It's one of the lowest calorie per portion dishes though so you have to make sure you have enough to stay full.



Dinner was a three bean chilli which I had cunning reserved my starch portion for - so I had it with half a cup of rice - hallelujah, starchy goodness! It was a nice chilli, not as much kick as the beef version, but then I had stirred in a spoon of creme fraiche as my fat and so that may have cooled it a little bit. It was a good variety of beans though, so I liked that.

Friday
This was a wholewheat and chocolate flakes day in the morning. These are kind of like Special K, so they taste alright and keep you full-ish, up to a point. I find that I tend to have my lunch a bit earlier on those days though. This day I was supposed to have another pot of sweet and sour noodles, but as I'm really not that keen on them and I had the day off work, I swapped it for a portion of the French Tuna Pasta Salad which I had missed last weekend and gave the noodles to the Boy! With an onion and pepper fried up and added in, this made a good and satisfying portion of food. In the absence of as many carbs as I usually eat, I'm really noticing how important protein is at keeping me full.
In the evening I had another 'ready meal' type affair, roast chicken in gravy with mashed potato. The Boy made this for me (well, boiled it!) and served it with asparagus. The chicken was good, the gravy was a bit watery and the mashed potato was just a bit bizarre to be honest. For food that was served up like 'fresh' the mash had a weird texture and didn't taste at all like fresh potatoes. I reckon you're actually better off, flavour wise, with the little pots of mash at lunch time!!! My snack in the evening was the last of the untried snack - a dark chocolate cereal bar, which like the others was very tasty with a nice chocolatey hit. Nicer than the white chocolate version, unfortunately as I have less of them!!
The Boy took me out in the early evening as well and I had one (large) glass of wine. It was heavenly.

Saturday

Yesterday was the last day of my second week on Jenny Craig. I had the wholewheat and chocolate flakes for breakfast and then a lunch that I had been looking forward to, Mixed Bean and Chorizo soup. I fried up some mushroom and peppers first and then added the soup to warm. It was a very thick soup, which I liked, and although the overall flavour was good the chorizo they had used didn't taste particularly good of itself- almost like the flavour had all leached out. So that was a little bit disappointing, but overall it was a warming and satisfying meal.

In the evening it was chicken chasseur and potatoes again. I learned my lesson from earlier in the week and put it in a bowl this time, surely it is the king of all the gloopy meals. It tasted good though, especially with a load of courgette and the last of the mushrooms stirred in and some creme fraiche to finish. It's getting late in the morning now and I'm still not overly hungry so it must have done the trick. My snack yesterday was one of the chocolate digestive bars.


So where does that leave us weight-wise I hear you cry? Well, foolishly I weighed myself on Friday as I felt like I was having such a good week. I'd been to zumba twice and cycled everywhere. But no, I was heavier. So Saturday morning I weighed myself again. Nope, heavier still. It was with a heavy heart therefore, that I got on the scales this morning, but it was all good!

Start weight: 9st 2lbs
Target weight: 8st 8lbs
This week: -1lb
Total loss: -6lb
Current weight: 8st 11lb
BMI: 22.56 (target 22)



Saturday, 20 October 2012

REVIEW & COMPETITION: Crystals and Gems

I really enjoy customising my clothes. Since the recession hit, it has become the thrifty thing to do, but it has always been the fun, creative option. I was asked to review the DIY studding materials that are available through the Crystals and Gems website.

I must admit, I was incredibly excited when this little bundle arrived through the post. I've not had much time to work on craft projects recently because I am trying to finish off one big project that is taking up all my spare time (more on that when it's finished!) so having some items to review was a great excuse to put that to one side for an afternoon and try something new.

In the package I was sent, I received one pack of silver 9mm pyramid studs, one pack of silver 5mm pyramid studs, and a pack of small round studs. There was also a tool to press down the prongs at the back of the studs.

Looking round the Crystals and Gems shop, I could see that their prices are very reasonable. Each pack of 100 studs would go a long way and prices range from £2.49 to £3.49 for a pack of the pyramid studs, depending upon what size you wanted. Studded embellishment is everywhere this season, on clothes, shoes and bags - so why not cut out the middle man and make your own? For example, the black studded bandeau top pictured on the left here is currently retailing at £38.99 on Asos. You can get essentially the same top currently at Boohoo for £6.00. That means that you could make a great copy for under a tenner, have loads of studs left to embellish other clothes and save yourself nearly £30 in the process!

So, how did I get one with my afternoon of studding? Well, I had a lot of fun in the first place. I started experimenting on an old pair of shorts. You poke the prongs of the stud through the fabric and use the tool to bend the prongs over. It's easy enough but it takes a little concentration to get everything even and straight - as you can see from my pictures below! The prong pressing tool is really handy. You could use other things to press the prongs down, but they are likely to get scratched and the task gets more and more fiddly, the smaller the studs you use. I found the tool not only made the job easier and faster, but the rounded edges allowed you to ensure the ends of the prongs were well pushed in to the slight recess at the back of each stud, meaning you are not left with any uncomfortable sharp edges.



After I'd had a little practice with the square studs on my shorts I decided to add a new lease of life to one of my boring shopping bags. Naturally I couldn't resist adding the peace sign to something, as is my wont, so I had a go at that. Freestyling it seemed to work quite well, I was pleased with the results.


Now I've had a little practice I'm really into it! I can see all sorts of potential for making funky, bespoke gifts. I also happen to think that this embellishment technique would really suit homewares as well as clothing. Cushions would look awesome, but perhaps not be as comfortable as you'd like, but I reckon things like lampshades would look excellent with some studs added to them. A great way to liven up all clothes and decorations. I've decided that tomorrow I am going to go to the local carboot (hopefully it's still on, not finished for the winter - if not, I'll go to the charity shop) and find a little renovation project - something that i can add a great stud pattern to to really perk it up.

I can't give anything but 10 out of 10 Extreme Points for Crystals and Gems. I had a lovely hour of diversion using their products. The quality of both the studs and the tools is excellent and represents great value for money. And in terms of doing your own customisation, you can clearly save a bundle on paying through the nose for spiked and studded outfits from the high street. A great think, I definitely recommend checking them out.

By the bye, as I was working on this, I was reminded very strongly of Tetris... Do you think it would be weird to get a load of different colours of the large pyramid studs and make a jacket with a game of Tetris on the back? I'm copyrighting that idea right now by the way, so if I see someone else doing it, consider yourself sued! LOL. But seriously, back off my ideas everyone...

How the studs look on the back
And now is your chance to win a set of studs and a great prong pressing tool for yourself! This competition is open to UK entrants. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vegan Christmas Flapjack

I know that it's only October, but the shops are full of Christmas tat, the interminable Christmas sofa adverts are already on the telly, so I thought it was time for Ray Mears Extreme Housewifery to get ahead of the rush and get the first Christmas baking recipe out there.

This simple flapjack recipe is suitable for Vegans and therefore people on a dairy-free diet. It takes minutes to throw together so is great in an entertaining emergency. I've made this one a bit more adult-friendly, with a boozy twist, since so most flapjacks seem aimed at kids I'm taking them back. This recipe has a slightly higher proportion of oats than a normal flapjack recipe because some of the flavourings are quite wet. This version has worked well for me, let me know if it's OK for you!

Vegan Christmas Flapjacks 

Ingredients

150g rolled oats
85g soya spread/margarine
85g demerara sugar
1 tsbp of golden syrup to bind (if mix is too dry)
50g sultanas or raisins
30g candied peel
50g suet-free mincemeat
1 tbsp of Dessert Wine (I used Moscatel) or Brandy... Or both.
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

Method
  • Combine dried fruit, dessert wine or brandy, spices and mincemeat and leave for the flavours to infuse. Give it at least half an hour, but a couple of hours would be preferable.
  • Put the oven on at 180'C to warm up.
  • Combine the oats and sugar in a bowl.
  • Gently melt the soya spread in a pan and add it to the dry ingredients.
  • Add in the fruit and mincemeat mix and gently stir to combine. The mix will be quite dark because of the mincemeat.

  • If the mixture is a little too wet, add some more oats. If it is a bit dry, add some golden syrup. The mixture should be firm enough to hold it's shape, and sticky, but also wet enough to be patted into the tin without crumbling apart.
  • Grease a square 8" tin and spoon in the mixture. Pat it down to create a flat layer and bake for 20 minutes or until a slight golden brown takes to the top.
  • Cut into squares while still warm and then leave to cool.

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