Monthly Archives: August 2013

September workout: Booty Challenge

This time I’m posting in time so that you can start with me 1st September.

September’s challenge is going to work your bum!

booty challenge, bum workout, 30 day butt challenge, 30 day challenge

Ok, so it’s a 26 day challenge, I might just keep going until the end of the month.

Monkey squat was new to me, so I had to look into it.  According to Ripped Goddess: the monkey squat re-establishes the squat.

You will use your quads, buttocks & long muscles of the back (erector spinae) to stabilise and strengthen these muscles.

Keeping your feet close together, support yourself into and out of a flowing squat:

monkey squat, booty challengeFor a video, see Jilian Michaels

We used to do Superman Planks at our abs class.  It is a great exercise to  strengthen the posterior chain muscles, You will be working your back, muffin top, glutes, legs, arms.

superman exerciseThank you FitSugar for these images.

I’ve loved the Bridge exercise since I started pilates when I was at University. It isolates and strengthens the bum muscles and hamstrings  (back of the upper leg) as well as your abdominal muscles and lower back and hip.

Ensure you roll your back up one vertebrae at a time to get into the position, then roll down again.

Bridge exercise, booty challengeYou can view a ‘How To’ guide on WikiHow.

Who’s with me???

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Mexican beans: vegan, gluten-free

I was inspired to make this by Kristy at Keepin’ It Kind – Kristy has an amazing writing style, and makes it feel like you are chatting to your best friend.  I love her writing!

Growing up we stuck to fairly traditional meals: meat and two veg, cottage pies etc.  Our most adventurous meals were probably my Dad’s spaghetti bolognese, and the leftovers my Mum would turn into a lasagne.

We would occasionally have a curry – but it was sauce from a jar.  And the same went for chilli con carne.  That was the closest I came to Mexican food as a kid and I would inevitably try to pick out all the kidney beans, not being a fan (I know, can’t believe it now!).  We would never have tried avocado or guacamole and salsa.

So when I read about Kristy’s childhood visits to a Mexican restaurant, I was inspired to try and cook my own version.  Kristy’s bowl had black beans – I don’t know what they were, but I bought black eyed beans – something I didn’t think I was keen on.

For anyone who regularly reads my blog you will know I am reading Danny Wallace’s Yes Man. Am I feeling inspired to say yes more? Maybe.  But I have realised that I’m not really a ‘No Woman‘.  I DO like to try new experiences.  I have a foreboding ‘fear of missing out’ (or FOMO as a friend at work calls it) and I never can say “no” to a friend (please don’t use that against me!).

When I went to University I was keen to try new foods, I signed up to clubs (in fact, someone called me a ‘joiner’ and I don’t think they meant it in a good way), but it was all done on my own terms.  I’m not very spontaneous – I like to give consideration before I commit to something.  Maybe I need, not to say ‘yes’ more, but to take a more spontaneous approach.

Anyway, back to those beans:

Mexican beans, black eyed beans, Sorry it looks a bit insipid.  I used iceberg lettuce because that’s what I had in the fridge at the time.  Under normal circumstances I would have spinach/romaine lettuce/little gem lettuce over iceberg – but needs must.

Mexican Beans
Serves 1

  • 80g black eyed beans tinned in water
  • 10g tomato puree concentrate
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp Mexican spice blend or 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp cumin
  • half a small avocado (approx 30g)
  • lettuce – iceberg, romaine, spinach, little gem all work well
  • 1 serving of quinoa
  1. Cook your quinoa according to packet instructions.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, lightly toast your spices and ginger for a minute or two – don’t allow them to burn (This is where Ben usually tells me off!)
  3. Add the tomato puree and cook off for a couple of minutes to remove the bitterness.
  4. Add your beans and a splash of water, cook until heated through.  Add more water as necessary.
  5. Serve over the lettuce, and quinoa and top with slices of avocado.

Are you a Yes man/woman or do you lean towards saying ‘no’?

Pulled jack fruit, vegan, gluten free

I first read about jack fruit on Keepin’ it Kind.  I’d never heard of it before, and I believe I said so in the comments!

Having never heard of it, or where I could get hold of it I put it to the back of my mind.

That is until I saw a tin in the Chinese supermarket.

jack fruit, jackfruitIt was clearly meant to be! I wasn’t even planning on going to the supermarket that day.  I was eating out with Ben, Josh, and his girlfriend, and we were there early.  I hadn’t been to the Chinese Supermarket since I was at University 5 years ago, so we didn’t know if it would still be there.

It was a nice evening, so we headed over to explore…. and low and behold there was a tin of jack fruit.

I have to confess, I didn’t buy it there and then, I sent Ben in a few weeks later when he was in the vicinity – thanks Love!

So now I had my (large!) tin of jackfruit, and no idea what to do with it.  If you didn’t click the link above the first recipe was atop a pizza.  Still not eating bread (boo hoo!) I decided that was out of the question.

Other suggestions included making a mock tuna sandwich (nope), or enchiladas (more bread products).

I decided I would make ‘pulled jackfruit’ a vegan version of Ben’s pulled chicken, but instead of serving it with a bun, I would serve it on my courgette noodles.

Oh, wait!  I didn’t show you the massive courgette I bought! It could feed a small army for a week!

courgette, zucchiniDoesn’t look so big??  Check it out next to my penny

zucchini, courgetteOk, so if you aren’t familiar with British coins that might be lost on you…trust me, it was BIG!!!!

Anyway, the jack fruit wasn’t what I expected

jackfruit, jack fruitBut once I’d shredded the big chunks – I tried with two forks as I would with pulled chicken, but resorted to using my fingers – it was more what I was expecting.  It did rather resemble flakes of tuna.  Though I was a little weirded out by the seeds – they resembled small oval eyeballs (sorry if that puts you off)

I didn’t think it had much of a taste on it’s own, you could taste the brine, but not much else.  I asked Ben to try some and he balked at the idea.  He did eventually have some, but the piece was so small I’m surprised he even knew it was there!  He stuck to his pulled chicken bap.

jackfruit, pulled jack fruit, bbq, barbeque, noodles, spiralizer, vegan, gluten freePulled jackfruit
Serves 1

  • 85g jack fruit, approx 3 pieces, shredded
  • 60g chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp vegan Worcester sauce
  • 1stp apple cider vinegar
  • courgette noodles and vegan cheese to serve
  1. Make the sauce by putting the chopped tomatoes, Worcester sauce, and cider vinegar in a small frying pan to heat. You can puree them in a blender first for a smooth sauce.
  2. Stir in the jack fruit and warm on a moderate heat.
  3. Meanwhile make the courgette noodles with a spiralizer.
  4. You can briefly saute the noodles to soften, or serve raw depending on your tastes
  5. Top the noodles with the pulled jack fruit and serve with cheese, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.

What are the weirdest ingredients you’ve tried? Have you got any stories of massive vegetables?

Black quinoa zen bowl

Good Morning!

I bought some black quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) recently.  I thought I would give it a go for a change.

The nutritional benefits of quinoa are well known, including:

  • the highest iron content of any grain (although technically it is a seed)
  • contains all 9 essential amino acids
  • rich in vitamins A, B2 and E.

According to the website I bought it from: Black quinoa is slightly more fibrous in texture than white quinoa, and is crunchier when cooked.

It cooks much the same as regular quinoa.  The cooking instructions read:

To prepare, rinse thoroughly under running water before cooking. Then, add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes


You know when it’s cooked because the germ separates, giving the effect of little tails.

black quinoa

cooked black quinoa

I’m always keen to try something new, so I was ‘ready’ to try a Zen Bowl this time using black quinoa.  I’ve made successful versions with egg, or with tofu.

crunchier when cooked” ?! – I should say so!  It had more the texture of poppy seeds crunching between my teeth.  I liked it, yes.  But I think next time I will cook a mixture of white and black quinoa.

black quinoa, zen bowl, scramble, egg, avocado,

Black quinoa Zen bowl
Serves 1

  • 1 portion cooked black and white quinoa (approx 60-100g cooked weight)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp curry powder of your choice (choose a low salt version)
  • vegetables of your choice, my favourites are carrot
  • lettuce and avocado to serve
  1. Cook your quinoa according to packet instructions.  If there are no instructions: rinse thoroughly under running water before cooking. Then, add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Sweat down the carrot until softened.
  3. Stir in the egg and egg white with a your curry powder and gently scramble.
  4. Serve with cooked quinoa, and top with some sliced avocado for good fats and a creamy texture and some crispy lettuce.

I like this curry powder at the moment

suma, mild, curry powderNo salt, just cumin (my favourite), coriander, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cloves, fenugreek and pepper – Yum!

Do you buy curry powders, or do you make your own?  What are your favourite flavour comibnations?

Protein powders

While I was on holiday, I needed something quick, easy (and quiet) to make for breakfast.  I get up much earlier than the rest of the family, so I needed something I could pull together with minimal fuss.  I took a few protein powders with me, and that worked well.  Simply add water, and I’m sorted until everyone else gets up 3 hours later!

But, I didn’t take enough with me for every day. So while we were out shopping, I picked up a couple of samples to try.

First up was Ketoslim

KetoSlim, vegan, protein powder, vanillaKetoSlim is the first vegan protein powder I have tried.  At only 100 calories for the portion, I was happy to give it a go.  Gluten free and made from Non-GMO rice protein, pea protein and soy, it packs in 23g of protein in a 33g serving.  My usual protein powder is about 26g protein for 56g powder, and approx 200 calories.

I’m now questioning the vegan statement, the website states vegetarian and lactose-free.  If you know, please clarify this in the comments box.

According to the packaging:

KETOslim Shake includes nutritional reinforcements: a proteolytic enzyme blend, spirulina, Critical Flora, carnitine, and a Whole Food Blend of 50 fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, apple, and apricot.

Critical Metabolism – Supports healthy metabolism with proven dieting aids, including CitriMax®, carnitine and taurine.
Critical Green Whole Food Blend – Provides abundant phytonutrients and trace elements found in fruits and vegetables.

I was a bit disappointed by the size of the shake – 8fl oz or 236 (ish)ml, is just over half the size of the 400ml shake I usually have.  But, then the powder size is smaller.

When it came to the taste test, I’m sorry, I was REALLY disappointed.  I was at this point GLAD it was half the size of my usual protein powder – it tasted like dirt! The powder was grainy, and the vanilla taste did not mask the flavour.

Sorry, but I won’t be buying this one again.

Next up was PhD Woman Meal Replacement powder

strawbery protein powder, phd, woman, meal replacementAt 55g per portion with 25.5g of protein and 205 calories, this is more like the protein powders I am used to.  This comes in at almost 20g carbohydrates, of which 3g are sugars.  My usual protein powder contains 11.6g carbs, 2.4g sugar.

This one was made up with 250ml water, so again, it was smaller than my usual brand.

Other than the serving size, I liked the taste.  It had real freeze dried (I think) pieces in it, which was nice (my regular brand does too, but they are smaller pieces).

I was a bit put off that this was marketed as a meal replacement powder.  I don’t think a shake can replicate the nutrition of a balanced meal, but I guess this is what I was using it for, while on holiday, if not to lose weight.

I think for now I will stick to my regular protein powders.

Can you recommend a protein powder?  What brands do you like?

Chocolate protein pancakes, gluten free, no protein powder

Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

Ben worked last night, so we will be able to share a rare breakfast together.  It being a Bank Holiday, I’m thinking something which will keep me going all day.

I’m not sure how I feel about Protein powder.  Now, I have been using it a fair bit recently in my recipes.  I’ve found it a useful way to boost my intake of protein, especially as I don’t eat a lot of meat or fish.  BUT I’m aware that it is a processed food – and I try to avoid processed food as much as possible.

So, I’m at a bit of an impasse.

Therefore, I thought I would try to make my protein pancakes, but without the protein powder.

They came out successfully when I changed it up to make fritters.  I simply swapped the protein powder for nutritional yeast, and it worked perfectly.

However, this time I didn’t know what I would be adding in, where I was taking away.

I knew it would need more flavour, so I simply opted to use some raw cacao powder. But being quite bitter, I didn’t want to replace it entirely.  I decided to just ‘go for it’, and see how it went.  And yes, it worked fine.

egg white, oats, chocolate, cacao powder, breakfast, pancakes, protein
Sorry the image it a bit out of focus, it was first thing after all!

As you can see, they worked fine.  These ones stuck a little, but I think I was just impatient with spritzing the pan with low calorie spray, and allowing them to set.  It all tasted just fine anyway!

They were perhaps a little bit more ‘omelette-y’ than normal, but the cacao powder dealt with that.

No protein powder, protein pancakes
Serves 1

  • 70g egg white
  • 10g ground flax seed
  • 4g raw cacao powder
  • 20g jumbo oats, processed to oat flour
  • 50ml rice milk; almond, soya or dairy milk will work just fine.
  1. Put the oats in your food processor, and blitz to make a coarse flour.
  2. Add in all the other ingredients and combine
  3. Heat the frying pan to hot and add spoonfuls of batter, I like to make 4 pancakes out of the batter.
  4. Turn it down to a medium heat, place a lid over the top so they part steam/bake.
  5. When the top is set and starting to form bubbles remove from the heat.
  6. Flip the pancakes.  Return to the heat to seal the other side.
  7. Serve with your choice of toppings, I went for a small dollop of peanut butter, and some leftover blackberries.

chocolate protein pancakes, no protein powder, egg white, cacao, breakfast

Now the question is: My gym is closed today, do I do some body-weight circuit training, or take a rest day???

Indulgent Grasshopper traybake

This is my 100th post on the blog – so I think it is a fitting tribute to share this indulgent chocolate cake 🙂

Upon returning from holiday, I couldn’t resist making a luxury chocolate cake.  This is in no way a ‘healthy’ cake I enjoy baking to unwind, and had kind of missed it while I was away.  I had a box of after dinner mints I had taken with us, which weren’t used so I thought this multi-layer chocolate and mint cake would be the perfect use for it.  YUM!

I first saw the term ‘grasshopper’ to describe a mint and chocolate cake on BBC Good Food. It rather reminds me of millionaires shortbread, but with brownie base and a peppermint layer, topped with dark chocolate.

grasshopper, mint, chocolate, cacao, cake, slice, brownie, traybake

Not to be outdone, I came up with my own version.

A layer of chocolate cake, topped with After Dinner Mints, with a second layer of minty chocolate brownie studded with macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.

Plus this bake gave me a use for the excess egg yolks I had after I couldn’t get my usual egg white from the supermarket.

after eight, dinner mint, mint thins, chocolate brownie, chocolate cake, traybake

Stage two – add the mint thins

Chocolate Cake layer.

  • 125g butter
  • 65g icing sugar
  • 95g sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250ml rice milk
  • 20g raw cacao powder

Middle layer

  • After dinner mint thins such as After Eights

Brownie layer

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 150g chocolate – I used a mixture of dark chocolate and mint chocolate
  • 125ml rice milk
  • 35g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 egg
  • handful each of macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. To make the chocolate cake layer: cream together the butter and sugars until light in colour and texture.  Gradually beat in the eggs, a bit at a time.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and cacao powder (or chocolate powder). Gently add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a bit at a time, alternating with the rice milk. Be careful not to overmix.  Cook in the oven for half an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, make the brownie layer: sift flour into the same bowl you used to make the chocolate cake layer. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.  Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water.  Add in the milk, sugar and egg.  Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.
  4. After half an hour in the oven, remove the cake layer from oven and place chocolate mint thins across the surface
  5. Pour the brownie mixture over the chocolate cake and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is set but still has a slight wobble.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin.

mint, chocolate, grasshopper, macadamia, brownie, Is it important to you to have ‘healthy treats’ or do you need to indulge once in a while?

High protein pumpkin oats, gluten free

oats, pumpkin, egg white, cinnamon, spice, cacao nibs, walnuts,

YAY! It’s a Bank Holiday weekend! Boo! My internet service is down, so it’s going to be a quiet weekend!  It’s particularly annoying because we will soon be setting off to Munich for our Anniversary hoilday, and I really wanted to get some posts scheduled before we go away.

But at least i will get more attention from Ben – phubbing (phone snubbing) is rife in our house!

phubbing, phone snubbingAt least I’ll have time to finish the book my brother lent me over the holiday.  Yes Man by Danny Wallace.  I only started on Thursday and it’s got me chuckling on the train already.

So I think I might start my weekend with a nice hearty bowl of oats.  I think when I make this next time, I will leave out (or cut back on) the pumpkin.  It may just be that Emily’s love of canned pumpkin is now on borrowed time!

pumpkin, oats,

Uncooked overnight pumpkin oats

High Protein Pumpkin Oats
Serves 1

  • 30g jumbo rolled oats
  • 80g canned pumpkin
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 tsp mixed spice, or to taste
  • water
  • 70g egg white
  • walnuts and cacao nibs to serve
  1. The night before, stir the oats, pumpkin, spices and water to create oat mixture.  Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, pour the oat mixture into a non-stick frying pan and stir in the vanilla seeds.
  3. Heat on the hob and stir in your egg white.  Stir constantly until the egg white is set and the oats are cooked.  Add more water if it gets too thick.
  4. Serve with your toppings – mine has a sprinkle of cacao nibs and 8g of walnuts.

This contains 12g of protein and 26g of carbs, with only 4g of sugar.  A good start to the day, I think!

Do you tolerate phubbing in your house, or do you have a no mobile/ipod/iphone policy?

Blackberry smoothie, gluten free, vegan option

When we got back from holiday there was a treat from Real Foods waiting for me.  I took some snaps and have been forgetting to put them in my blog posts.  Here you are:

Real Foods, Oat cakes, competition prize

Competition Prize

A little while ago they ran a Facebook competition to win a packet of these BreadShare Bakery Oatcakes:

Breadshare Bakery Oatcakes

Breadshare Bakery Oatcakes

I didn’t win, but they kindly sent a packet of the oatcakes to everyone who entered.  I can’t wait to try these!

blackberry bushI first saw blackberries ripening a couple of days after my birthday. Though I was tempted, Ben tells me not to eat them because they will be sour.  But now they are definitely ripe enough.

So when I got back from the gym, I decided to pick some of these tasty treats back of the house.

When I was younger I used to go picking blackberries with my Nan.  We would take a big stick to help us to reach the high ones.  We would then take them home and make a blackberry milk shake.  In addition to the blackberries and milk she would add ice cream into the blender, then add a dollop of ice cream on top for good measure.

I was inspired by my Nan’s treats to make a healthier version.  I used my go-to smoothie recipe using a probiotic drink, silken tofu, and protein powder.

Blackberries are high in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C.  Their dark colour indicates they have high antioxidants.  I was interested to learn that the vitamin K (not slang for ketamine) in blackberries aids in muscle relaxing, so some women use the berries to alleviate labour pains. As part of a regular diet, the juice can also be used to regulate menstruation as it is very effective in helping blood to clot.  There’s something I didn’t know!

blackberry, tofu, probiotic, proteinBlackberry Smoothie

  • 80g blackberries
  • 100ml probiotic drink (vegan if required)
  • 100g silken tofu
  • 15g vanilla protein powder
  • toppings, I used some jumbo oats, cacao nibs and a few more blackberries

Simply put all the smoothie ingredients (not the toppings) into your blender and blitz until smooth.  There will probably be seeds, so you can sieve these out if they bother you, but I quite like them – reminds me of Nanny 🙂

blackberry, smoothie,

Digging in

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Plymouth Flavour Fest and Thai Fennel Salad

I had my most successful day on the blog yesterday. I appreciate every one of you who spends time reading my posts.  I know many of us are sharing in the loss of a good friend, and we remember him in our shared memories.

So many of us were commenting on how he was the only one who could get away with saying “you’ve got a body for sin, girlfriend“.  I have to confess that, being a ‘good Christian girl’ it didn’t sit terribly well with me, but I will miss it TERRIBLY now I know I won’t hear it again.

The recent Passenger song ‘Let her Go’ reminds me to appreciate what you’ve got before it’s gone:

“But you only need the light when its burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go”

I don’t want my blog to turn into a maudlin Memorial page, so without further ado, to Plymouth…

While on holiday last week we spent a day at Flavour Fest in Plymouth.  Advertised as the largest free food festival in the South West, it was celebrating its 10th Anniversary.

I’d secretly wanted to go for years – I was at Plymouth University between 2004-2008 – but it always falls around my Mum’s birthday, when we are usually away.  Ben suggested that we go this year and that was enough to make sure we went.

It was indeed a big food fair.  We got there in time to see Michael Caines from Abode Exeter and Gidleigh Park.  He is an amazing chef, and comes across as a really nice guy!  Recipe below…

Michael Caines, Plymough Flavour Fest

Michael Caines

Ben enjoyed a duck burger from Pepper’s Poultry and a massive peanut butter cookie to follow;  Mum had a pasty from Chunk of Devon.   Sorry I didn’t get photos.  I had a nice chat with the man from Chunk, discussing how they keep winning awards for their pasties 🙂

There was lots of lovely fresh veg on salePlymouth Flavour Fest, food festival:

I came away with lots of inspiration, and promptly made a luxurious grasshopper slice when we got home from holiday. I’ll share the recipe with you soon.

In the evening we celebrated Mum’s birthday at Sizzall, where we treated ourselves to the Korean Barbeque, where we were able to cook our own meat and veg in the middle of the table.

It took us a while to really get the knack of it.  We saw ‘regulars’ piling plates high with raw meat and veg and really enjoying the communal experience of cooking and eating together.  I enjoyed wrapping mine up in the little gem lettuce leaves, while Ben tried to grill his – Thug Kitchen Style!

Ben grilling lettuce, going Thug Kitchen



Haha! Spot the (not deliberate) mistake.

Anyway, here is a recipe from Michael Caines on the grand stage:

Thai purée, fennel, dill and lime salad with tomato ketchup sauce

For the Thai purée

  • 60g/2¼oz butter
  • 7g/¼oz lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 4g garlic, crushed
  • 4g ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2g madras curry powder
  • 7g/¼oz saffron
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 150ml/5fl oz fish stock

For the lime oil

  • 30g/1oz lime peel, chopped
  • 150g/5½oz olive oil

For the basil oil

  • 30g/1oz basil leaves
  • 300ml/10½fl oz extra virgin olive oil

For the ketchup sauce

  •  60g/2¼oz unsalted butter
  •  3g fennel seeds, toasted then chopped
  •  3g finely chopped shallot
  •  50g/1¾oz tomato ketchup

For the lime vinaigrette

  • 150ml/5fl oz lime oil
  • 50ml/2fl oz lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme

For the fennel salad

  •   2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  •   iced water
  •   1 tsp chopped dill
  •   salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the Thai purée, heat the butter in a pan and gently fry the lemongrass, garlic and ginger without colouring them. Add the curry powder, saffron and lime and cook for a minute. Now add the onion and fry for a further five minutes. Add 50ml/2fl oz water and the fish stock and cook slowly for two hours.
  2. Strain through a colander. Then blend the vegetables for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Pass the purée through a fine sieve and hang in a muslin cloth suspended over a pan and leave overnight. Keep the cooking juices that drip into the pan. You can use these to thin the purée when it is reheated if necessary.
  4. To make the lime oil, heat the oil with the chopped citrus peel to 80C/176F, then blend in a blender for five minutes. Pass through a damp piece of muslin cloth and leave to cool. Set aside in a plastic container or plastic bottle.
  5. To make the basil oil, heat the basil leaves and the olive oil in a saucepan. Heat to 80C/176F and then pour into a blender. Blend for three minutes. Pass through a sieve lined with muslin cloth and leave to drain. Reserve the oil.
  6. For the ketchup sauce, in a small saucepan melt the butter and heat until nutty brown in colour (beurre noisette).
  7. Pass the browned butter through a sieve into a clean pan and add the chopped fennel seeds, shallot and tomato ketchup. Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until thick and then set aside in a warm place. The sauce will look split (the oil will separate out) which is fine.
  8. To make the lime vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  9. For the fennel salad slice the fennel thinly using a mandoline and place into iced water for an hour.
  10. Strain the fennel and put it in a bowl, add the chopped dill and mix well.
  11. Now season the lime vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  12. To serve, place some Thai purée onto the serving plates and then swipe it down the middle of the plate. Spoon on the tomato sauce, taking both the sauce and oil. Place the fennel salad on top.
  13. Garnish the plate with the micro basil leaves and drizzle some basil oil around the edge. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted fennel seeds.

Do you like going to Food Festivals?  What is your favourite part of the day?