Category Archives: Mummy

Mini crustless quiches

A month into Harcombe and I am 10lb lighter. To celebrate I made some international mini crustless quiches. I’ve been tinkering with crustless quiche for a while and have discovered that the secret is a silicon deep muffin tin. What comes out looks a little muffin-y but is totally delish.

Crustless quiches


Makes 6

1 pack of Scottish smoked salmon flakes
1 welsh leek, sliced
3 eggs
Generous splash of whole milk
Spoonful of Italian marscapone
One slice of French Brie, cut up into small squares.

Fry leeks and then stir in salmon flakes
Beat 3 eggs with milk and marscapone (cream / creme fraiche / whatever dairy goodness you have to add some luxurious healthy fats) – warning marscapone just breaks into little white lumps and looks gross at this stage! Season.
Put leeks and salmon into a deep hole muffin tray (6)
Pour egg mix over and then sprinkle Brie on top.
Bake at 200 degrees for 19 minutes

Vary the ingredients, I made a lovely onion, tomato and goats cheese set last week.

Bon Appetite!



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Celebrating my brave boys with a carb meal

On Fridays we take the boys swimming in Bedford. We go to Bedford as our Flitwick pool is f-f-freezing (I used to finish swimming lessons with Ciaran early when his lips turned blue) and the waiting list to get back to lessons is over a terms wait. The pool we swim at is good in many ways, it’s an ozone pool (no chlorine to upset Ciaran’s eczema) with two teachers to each group of six. The downside is that on Friday afternoons I have to drive like a possessed woman from school into and across Bedford.

Ciaran was unhappy about starting swimming after Christmas but by half term had calmed down (as he is so young they put him in a very small group so he could get almost 1-1 attention) and Ben was coming on well until his teachers took all six tummy bands off in one lesson. Most of the kids in his group were too scared to swim and both teachers were focusing on the scared kids while Ben and his friend swam on their backs with a kickboard, when Ben was almost at the other end he lost his board and started to drown. Neither teacher noticed and the lifeguard was apparently ‘scanning’ the other side of the pool. Eventually he noticed and dived in just before my husband and I arrived downstairs at the pool side terrified.

I knew that Ben needed to get back into the water so I encouraged him to get back in with a tummy band. Unfortunately he missed the last lesson before Easter so yesterday was his first time back in the water for three weeks and over Easter he had been brooding a lot on what happened in the water and getting tearful about swimming.

Yesterday I go the boys changed with no tears and took them poolside, Ciaran saw the water, pulled a face and burst into tears while Ben chatted to his friends. I knew that the longer I stayed the harder it would be for Ciaran so I deposited him in the lap of the assistant manager (who I’d warned earlier about both boys being scared) and headed up to the viewing gallery leaving hubby poolside in case of emergencies). By the time I was upstairs Ciaran was in the water with his teacher and bravely letting go of her to swim next to her, Ben had panicked and was refusing to get in.

After ten minutes of letting him get ready in his own time one of his teachers lifted him into the water (the other teacher was there to help him) and as soon as he got in the water he was fine! My parents were watching and commented that once Ben got going he was quite a fast swimmer for a five year old. Both boys had been very brave and I was so proud of my babies for trying hard.

As both boys had been brave (and this time I hadn’t ran so hard in high heels to save my kids that my feet were bruised) we celebrated in style, a Maccy D for the kids on the way home followed by a kebab for us adults. I normally have the meat and salad without the pitta but decided to have a vegetable kebab as a carb meal (I know that the pitta was white but hey Ho) and treated myself to half a portion of chips. While it was nice I missed the spiced meat and the pitta and chips mad me feel so bloated and uncomfortable that I’ll stick to foregoing the pitta!

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A fun weekend

I spent Friday with a thumping headache and sore throat feeling very sorry for myself. To satisfy Ciaran’s demands I hauled myself over to my parent’s house to walk the puppy with the boys and have lunch with Ninny (sausages sarnies for the kids, salmon salad and crab sticks for adults). Back home I tried to type up notes from the previous evenings Brownie unit planning meeting before deciding to lie down and let the kids pick a movie. Now that Ben can read we get some odd movie choices. We bought a zoo wouldn’t normally be a child’s movie pick but as he recognised the word zoo we had to watch it.

On Saturday hubby headed off to London for a photography course leaving me, the headache and kids at home. After an hour (and sharing my brekfast sausages and tomatoes grudgingly) I was pulling my hair out and told them to get their coats on. I drove to the Xscape in Milton Keynes and hoped that the novelty of a new movie, first ever cinema trip for Ciaran and popcorn would buy me an hour and half of relative peace. I hadn’t banked on the movie (The Croods) being so watchable and found myself laughing as the kids munched their popcorn ( a regular portion split into two bags). I was good and drank water instead of diet coke.

After the movie the boys begged for Maccy D so we headed there where I had more water and a chicken salad. Sadly the salad didn’t come with any cutlery and wasnt anything special so I picked at as much as I could face with my fingers (less than half). We then visited a relative who came to the park with us before getting back home in time for the Ocado man tea (pizza for the kids) and Dr Who before bed.


While I prepared tea Ben walked in looking very guilty and worried. I steeled myself to hear that the TV was broken and then noticed a tiny white lump in his hand and blood around his mouth. He’d given his loose tooth a wiggle and got a shock when it came away! Once he realised I wasn’t annoyed and that it was normal for it to bleed he was over the moon and excited about he tooth fairy visiting and worked hard to address an envelope to her. Ms Tooth Fairy had to quickly check her purse and was initially worried that she might be stuck with a choice of a quid in coppers or a note! Luckily Ms Tooth Fairy discovered a forgotten £2 coin.

After all the excitement the kids both settled quite well leaving me to have an evening without yelling upstairs to get back in bed!

Today was slightly warmer than yesterday so this morning we drove to Ampthill Park, walked the long circuit round before stopping at the play area and then onto the cafe (where I was very good and had a black tea without any homemade cake). At home I cooked lunch and then the men of the family all fell upon the Easter Eggs for pudding. Once the kids were suitably stuffed and getting fractious I took them into the kitchen to bake biscuits, Ciaran had requested jammy biscuits so we made thumbprints which cooled as we walked around Flitwick to pop to the shops and visit my parents. After the kids had demolished an omelette ( they did a LOT of walking today) I finally let them have a biscuit and judging by their expressions they were delicious.

Jammy thumbprints

125g butter cut into cubes
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
40g oats
60g plain flour
125g self raising flour
Jam or marmalade

1. Line two baking sheets and preheat the oven to 180
2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract (I explained to Ben that it was very strong so we could only use a little bit, he poured the half spoon in and then popped the spoon into his mouth, he won’t do that again!)
3. Add egg and beat in
4. Add flour and oats, mix well.
5. Shape into 15 balls. Squash flat with a fork, push thumb in middle (not all the way down) add a tiny but of jam or marmalade to the dent.
6. Cook 12-15 minutes, 15 minutes was a little too long for ours.


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Butternut Squash phobia cured

Butternut squash is not one of my favourite things to cook, I used to roast it in halves and then shred the flesh out with a fork until I made a very silly mistake. Home alone (hubby had a late meeting) a few years ago I was doing a midweek roast chicken and BNS dinner. The squash just wouldn’t cut, eventually I had a brainwave if I turned it to stand up (narrow end up) the knife was already going through the squash at the top by using a hand on each side of the knife I could use the weight of TWO hands instead of one. Inevitably it went wrong and as I pushed down and the knife started going through the squash it suddenly jumped to the side, naturally the pointy side!

Sharp butchers knife point met my left arm. While it didn’t go in far the knife was quite broad. I remembered enough first aid to run to the sink and get the cold water running. For a minute nothing happened and I looked at the cut thinking maybe I’d got off lightly and then the blood started pumping. I ended up tying an old t-shirt over the top of two plasters (worryingly I still cooked the freaking dinner) and all ended well. The only real impact is that I still have a white scar on my arm and have developed an aversion to butternut squash – until tonight.

I made a gorgeous risotto replacing the arborio with pearl barley and using a BNS that Mr Ocado had already peeled and cut for me. The recipe is in the March Good Food mag and I really recommend it. I didn’t use Parmesan (to keep it carb friendly) but I did use the spoonful of marscapone to make it creamy. It was so good that we ate most of it before getting a picture and has cured me of my aversion to butternut squash!

Breakfast: bacon omelette, salad
Lunch: Crustless salmon and watercress quiche and salad
Dinner: Squash and Barley risotto


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Manic Easter Monday

Unfortunately local schools aren’t great around here. They aren’t terrible but far from great. My oldest (Ben) is in Year 1 and his teachers job share (not fab for very young children) and seem total opposites. Blonde teacher told me one evening he was falling further and further behind because of his reading, trouble writing and lack of concentration. “Im very concerned”….”not able to access the curriculum”… This was a bolt from the blue! I said I wanted value-added data for the class (anonymised) and Ben as an individual I also said I wanted him to be assessed for dyslexia.

Next day brunette teacher called me to say it’s nothing to worry about, he’s doing fine etc..

I don’t believe in pushing kids too hard at such a young age but despite their different opinions I didn’t feel he’d learned much in Y1 so my Mum kindly paid for him to have extra tuition at explore learning and as long as Ben enjoys going there I’m happy as he is developing his concentration and writing skills. Only problem is that it’s on the far side of Bedford. So after brekkie I drove Ben to explore learning and pottered around Sainsburys getting stuff for the evening meal, I then picked Ben up and headed to the nearest Beefeater to meet hubby and the little monster.

Lunch over and too cold to walk around the lake we headed home and hubby cooked an amazing dinner of Chicken Mole (recipe on the good food website). It was bloody hot but so moreish. It had a little peanut butter in but I figured it was fairly little and ate it with no rice, just a little sour cream to balance the heat. Our Easter break was over, it had been the coldest Easter I can remember with snow but we’d still had fun (and thank God we hadn’t booked a break away to the coast this year!).

Breakfast: Brie omelette, salad
Lunch: Salmon, corn on the cob, hollandaise sauce, cooked veg
Dinner: spicy chicken mole, soured cream.

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Harcombe phase 2, welcome back dairy and carbs!

With a skip in my step and 4lb lighter than 5 days ago I hopped downstairs. This mornings breakfast was my usual omelette but with two slices of Brie melting on the top. Heaven. I live with a cheese hating man and over the years I’ve scaled cheese consumption back, partly to avoid the fat and also to avoid the smell making hubby gag. Re-discovering cheese was a nice treat.

I decided to make a carb feast for a family lunch, falafel, humus, salad, pitta, harissa, tzaiki and continental meats for the men folk. I began with tzaiki by deseeding the cucumber and salting in a colander. Next step falafel prep. I followed the recipe in the Harcombe diet book rather than using the trusty good food website and then moved onto the humus. To use up a glut of cannelini beans (I swear the cans are breeding) I used them instead of chickpeas. It seemed a little bland but not too bad. I made my harissa cautiously trying not to breathe too much and then tried to finish the falafel.

Total disaster, the mixture was too loose to form balls and father gamely frying three splats I quit and binned the lot.

Everyone enjoyed the lunch, hubby didn’t believe my warning that the harissa was hot and slathered it in a pitta bread stuffed with ham and salad. The boys found watching their Daddy’s face change colour great fun and he learned that my interpretation of ‘bloody hot’ is quite accurate!

Breakfast: Brie, spring onion and bacon omelette with salad
Lunch: humus, pitta, harissa, salad, tzaiki
Dinner: kebab with no pitta bread (or chips)
Treat: glass of red wine.


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Day 4 of Harcombe diet eating out and taking away!

I had a bad start to Thursday, when I was in the shower a huge black spot appeared in my vision, it disappeared after a few minutes but was pretty odd. Worried that this could be the start of a migraine I decided not to drive (my migraines leave me with a blind spot, poor co-ordination and slurred/ jumbled speech, like being drunk with none of the fun and a killer hangover). I cooked my usual omelette with tomatoes for brekkie but didn’t feel hungry and managed about 1/2, in fact I was quite queasy and spent much of the morning quietly groaning in my office.

I’d arranged a few weeks ago to have lunch with a friend and approached Nandos apprehensively. A Mediterranean chicken salad (no feta) and corn on the cob (with butter!) later and I felt MUCH better. I didn’t even resent not being allowed a diet coke. Feeling better I powered through the afternoon and must have walked three miles going to the far side of Clapham Road to meet Ben’s tutors, back to the train station and then walking home.

In the evening we treated ourselves and the boys to a curry. As Ben had played his favourite trick of keeping us all awake from 5:30 neither adult wanted to leave the house so we ordered a takeaway. Now I know onion bhaji has a little gram flour to bind it but I decided that I could turn a blind eye to that and had a very enjoyable evening.

Breakfast: bacon omelette and tinned tomato
Lunch: Nandos Mediterranean salad (no feta), corn on the cob and butter
Dinner: Chicken Methi and 2 onion bhajis

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