Posted on Leave a comment

5 Simple Reasons to Buy an Airfryer & Save Money

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links and images to Amazon UK, which may earn me a few pennies if you click on them and make a purchase.

I’ve spoken about energy saving already recently, but the news is still going mad for air fryers. After spending a whole week last week, furiously looking for a new one, I found it quite frustrating to even be able to tell the difference. In the past, I wanted one that turned, and cooked chips for the special needs lad. Nowadays, the choice for what he would be able to use is dire. Exceptionally dire. Almost every machine I’ve look at, is geared to the reading population, with temperatures, dials and fancy icons.

1 – Cooking With An Air Fryer Saves You Money

The statistics speak for themselves. An airfryer uses much less energy than your regular house oven. I’ve spoken about this sort of thing several times in the past, as I’ve used airfryers for years, and they really are perfect for our lifestyle.

Most electric ovens use from 3000 to 5000 watts on electric, but you should always check your own appliance. An airfryer is heating a much smaller space. That means it tends to cook faster, as a big oven takes longer and uses more energy to get to temperature and be ready to cook. With an airfryer, you switch on and it’s up and running. A full chicken can take about 40 or so minutes. So, as well as saving on usage, at approximately 1200-1800 watts, it saves cooking time.

2 – Healthier Cooking With An Air Fryer

We switched years ago. I have not had a deep fat fryer in any house I’ve lived in for my whole adult life. I did want something that gave the crispy deep fat fried look and crunch. Being in two house fires before the age of 12 has a habit of putting you off ever owning anything with a large pot of bubbling fat. Fryers in those days, were just big pots with fat in them. Even though there are now thermostatically controlled versions, I’ve never been able to live with one.

Air frying means using little to no oil. When we first got one, we used a very little oil. Nowadays, I just don’t bother to add any at all. Not cooking oil, means less fat, less calories and better preservation of the nutrients in our food.

3 – Time Saving In More Ways Than One

We’ve mentioned the speed of cooking is increased, but the one big thing that is in my life, is the complete bug bear of having to clean my big ovens. I have a very old, four cavity range cooker. I do love it, but it is old, probably very energy inefficient, and is a nightmare to clean.

With all my air fryers, where cleaning has been a challenge, it has solely been my own fault for letting some grease build up for too long as the teens cook. They never clean it afterwards. Even so, cleaning is so much easier than cleaning the oven, and I looked for my latest air fryer to have dishwasher safe parts, so that I can simply just throw them on in there.

4 – Reheat Your Leftovers In The Air Fryer

I was blindly reheating in the microwave for a long time. My old convection microwave gave up the ghost early on during the pandemic, so I resurrected my even older basic supermarket £20 microwave from a box in the garage and it’s still going strong. Granted, it had hardly been used, but I certainly got my money worth from it.

Fairly recently, I began reheating much of the leftovers in the air fryer. I’m absolutely gutted that I hadn’t thought of doing that before. It doesn’t work so great if you have an airfryer without temperature control, but I think most of the older style ones that are simply on/off and timer control, have been mostly phased out.

Leftovers reheated in the airfryer retain that newly cooked flavour and don’t go all soggy. Give it a go, as you won’t be disappointed.

5 – Accessories For Everything

We all have busy lives, right? The main thing we have to think about is value for money. Again, blindly just doing what I’ve always done, meant I was missing out on new things. There are accessories for almost every type of air fryer these days.

From inserts to keep the airfryer base clean, to tongs and racks for doubling or tripling the usable space, I really think there is an accessory for everything. The main problem is cutting it down to the accessories you will really use.

Buying An Air Fryer

To be fair, I still want that Phillips XXL Airfryer. It’s got a massive amount of space, and an app to make checking food easy. Cooking a large chicken could easily be an easy task with it, but it was slightly more than I was willing to pay. I’ve only used low end airfryers in the past, and they’ve served us well. I went with the Ninja due to replaceable drawers and I believe speed of cleaning.

When you look for an air fryer, you have to look at what your lifestyle needs. For me, it’s a high usage household with various cooking times during the day due to shift work, and speed of cleaning. Your needs may be very different.

What to look for.

  • Look at the specification of each airfryer. Having a super dooper airfryer that feeds 6 people may be completely unnecessary for someone who only wants to use it once or twice a week for a couple or small family.
  • Compare prices and reviews. Prices and availability change frequently, due to the higher uptake in 2021/2022, which saw many fryers out of stock for long periods. To get my Ninja, I had to spend about 2 months on the waiting list of the manufacturer, as every notification was already sold out before I got to the website.
  • Size of the machine. Do you have enough counterspace for the machine you want. We all know that if a machine ends up in a cupboard, it rarely ends up being used, if ever.

My Favourite High End Air Fryers on Amazon

Good Value Air Fryers Under £100 on Amazon

Mini Oven Airfryers

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Energy Saving Cooking Tips

Wee Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon UK, which may earn me a few pennies if you click on them and make a purchase.

Many people are in fuel poverty this winter, likely reaching into the millions, of whom, many have never struggled for their energy bills in the past. I’ve been a member of a wee group for a while now, and it’s one that helps people who are struggling with their bills, and gives advice to help them bridge the current gap.

The biggest problem is that there are literally unending amounts of people who have never faced debt before, but energy costs are fast putting them into situations where they might never have been. I’m not going to get drawn into the political rant, no matter how much I’d like to, but instead, I am going to focus on ways to help us save money on our daily life.

People everywhere seem to be speaking about getting dehumidifiers as they might be cheaper than tumble dryers, but we all have to make our own choices.

10 Ways To Save Energy in the Kitchen

1 – Preparation of Cooking Methods

Take the time to look at how you prepare and cook your food. There’s no point having loads of gadgets and small appliances languishing on your counters unused, or shoved in a cupboard and out of sight. Our ovens use a lot of energy, and some of your small gadgets could easily save you money if you look at the wattage used to run them and compare it with your oven.

2 – Work Out How Much Money Your Appliances Cost to Run

As an example, my slow cooker is 300w. That means it uses 300 watts of electrical energy per hour to run. My slow cooker is also a 6 litre large capacity one, and yours might use half of the energy that my cooker does per hour.

My oven is rated at around 2 kw per hour, for each oven. I have two. That means each oven uses approximately 2000 watts per hour. Ovens can use up to 5000 watts per hour, so make sure you check your own appliance ratings and do your own calculations.

At the moment, electricity is about 34p per unit of electric Jan 2023.
I tend to use my slow cooker on high for 4 hours = 1200 watts, or 1.2 kwh of electric, which is 1.2 units.
– Slow Cooker 4 Hours 300w = 1.2 Units at 34p = 41p
– Single Oven 4 Hours 2000w = 8 Units at 34p = £2.72

This comparison isn’t comparing apples with apples however, as using an oven is unlikely to take 4 hours, unless slow cooking on low heat.

My Calculation For Chips in the Air Fryer or Oven
34p/60 mins = 0.0057p per minute = 1000 watts

Air Fryer (Large) = 1500 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (1.50 x 0.0057p) = 21.4p
– Oven (2000w) = 2000 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (2 x 0.0057p) = 28.5p

For me, using the Airfryer is 7p cheaper than my oven, to cook a batch of chips. Given my teenagers sometimes cook 3 or 4 times a day, with a pie here or a portion of chips there, the airfryer is cheaper.

3 Cook Efficiently

One way to help save money at home is to look at our cooking choices. As a house, we’ve used air fryers for years, so it’s nice to see them get so much publicity at the moment, allowing us to make some savings. Choose your gadgets wisely.

Do the calculations for each of your appliances, and then choose the most efficient appliance for you. I have family who don’t use a microwave to reheat leftovers, and the oven is regularly on for long periods of time. I don’t have the luxury of wasting energy, and over the years, I’ve build up a good stock of countertop appliances that I can use.

Oven v My Appliances
– I use my oven when I am cooking large batches or big dishes.
– The microwave is mainly used for reheating.
Slow cooker for cooking cheaper cuts of meat and casserole type dishes.
Pressure cooker for making baked potatoes.
– Pan on the gas hob for large pans of soup.
Soupmaker for small batch of soup, up to 4 people.

4 Clean Appliances & Change Pan Usage

Dirt can build up around a gas burner or an electric hob. As well as wasting heat if you are using the wrong size pan for a dish you are making, the dirt build up can also make the cooking less efficient. If you are using a smaller pan, use a smaller burner if possible on gas, and you will be less likely to have inefficient cooking and food/heat wastage through spillage or heat distribution to the room.

Using lids while cooking on the hob or stove, helps to keep heat in, and uses less energy to cook food.

5 Use Timers For Cooking

This one might be a little like the old saying ‘trying to teach your granny to suck eggs.’ That might no mean much to you as a saying, in the way it does for me, but it simply means ‘stating the obvious.’ No matter which appliance we use, many of us are guilty of cooking for too long. My kids always made fun of me for how I can cook a full meal perfectly, but stick oven chips or pizza in the oven, and I forget about them and burn the food, as well as waste energy.

I’ve been making use of the timer function on my phone, and I no longer burn the junk food. I’m sure the boys will be happy with that, but they have now also learned to set their phone timers too, so we also no longer waste cooking energy.

6 Food Preparation & Meal Planning

Keeping cooking time down is quite important now, as cooking from frozen can use up a lot of unnecessary energy, that we could be better spent on heat in the cold weather. Defrosting food before use might save a few pence, as will planning your meals and knowing which ingredients you will need, and how you will use them. Many frozen items can be defrosted in the fridge overnight, just read the instructions to find out which ones are usable.

7 Batch Cooking

Batch cooking is sensible if you have the budget for buying larger quantities of ingredients than usual, as making meals this way means that a simple reheat is all that is needed for many items. If buying ingredients more in bulk, but if full batch cooking isn’t an option, you can take the time to work this differently. When I make meals nowadays, even soup, I make enough to also pop a couple of portions into the freezer for the boys to eat later. It’s just one or two extra portions with each cooking session, but it quickly adds up to food for later.

8 Leftovers

I have family and friends who won’t eat second day food. I think they’ve lost their minds, and one or two are on benefits and still won’t eat refrigerated leftovers. To me, that’s nuts. Bonkers. I can understand it if someone does not have a fridge, but throwing away perfectly good food that can eaten later makes my brain fry.

Simply reheat the leftovers in your microwave, ensuring they are nice and hot to eat

9 Storage, Best Before and Use By

There is easily accessible information on the internet, to know what is safe and what is not safe to eat. Almost everyone has a mini computer in their pocket, and can look up the fridge temperatures to be economical and keep food safe, while also not wasting energy.

Personally, I increased my fridge from 4C to 5C, and reduced my freezer from -20C to -18C. I am not recommending you change your settings to match mine, so research it for yourself and check you are not throwing money away when you don’t need to.

Know the difference between best before and use by, to ensure you get the best out of the products you buy for food and drinks.

10 Mindset Changes

Many of the ways to reduce energy usage while cooking needs a change of attitude and approach to making meals and being kitchen efficient.

One pot meals are easy and simple to make, saving cooking and heating times. For me, my baked tatties done in my pressure cooker are far cheaper than cooking them in the oven.

Planning ahead can mean you have the correct ingredients for when you need them. Even if I only save 7p on each air fryer cook session, it could easily save me about £50 a year. I know it doesn’t sound much, but that is just one single gadget saving. We do have to offset that against how much the gadget costs to buy, so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations.

Posted on Leave a comment

Hot Day Food

Whew, it’s hot out there. Even up here in Scotland, the weather is unusual and I for one, don’t want to stand over a stove for hours, or even more than a few minutes. It’s perfect weather for salads, sold soups, smoothies and lots more.

Always remember to drink plenty water when it’s hot outside, wear sunscreen, and if the heat is too much, wear a hat, shade, or stay indoors to avoid sunstroke.

A lovely raw strawberry and banana ice cream to start you off. To view the recipe, click here. I’ve added a few other suggestions below, which could help keep you slightly cooler. For me, reducing the carb content helps me to cope with the heat on very hot days. For you, it might simply be upping the amount of fluid you drink.

Take care out there these hot days. We might be used to it on holiday, where we can cool off at the beach or in a pool, but at home it’s humid, we tend to sweat more, and I feel more uncomfortable as there is nowhere to get inside to air conditioning.

Nutribullet Recipe: Frozen Summer Berries Smoothie
Check out this recipe
Nutribullet/Blender Recipe: Mango, Blueberry, Strawberry and Pecan Half Smoothie
Check out this recipe
Soup Maker: Cream of Aubergine and Butter Bean Soup (Egg Plant)
Check out this recipe
Roasted Stuffed Peppers – Onion, Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese, Served with Quails Eggs and Salad
Check out this recipe
Whole Baked Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Parsley
Check out this recipe
Prawn Cocktail With Apple & Cucumber
Check out this recipe
Fresh Limeade Recipe
Check out this recipe
Posted on 2 Comments

Breakfast Muffins / Fridge Clearance

Breakfast Muffins

Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Appetiser, Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine Breakfast
Servings 12 Muffins


  • Muffin Trays or cases. I used 2 red trays with 6 slots each.


  • 4 Eggs
  • 6 Slices Bread
  • 1 tsp Chicken Seasoning
  • 12 half tsp Sliced Meat / Vegetables / Fridge Leftovers
  • 12 half tsp Soft Cheese Low Fat
  • Grated Cheese To Taste


  • Rip up the bread, squash it and line the bottom of the muffin trays.
  • Take half teaspoon of soft cheese and put it on top of the bread. Don't try to spread it at this point, or it will lift the bread from the muffin cases / trays.
  • Tale a half teaspoon of the meat/vegetables/leftovers of your choice, and put it on top of the soft cheese.
  • Crack your four eggs into a cup and whisk. Add in seasoning of choice. I used chicken seasoning. Add a 25g grated cheese. Use a fork and mix well.
  • Take the egg mix and divide between the 12 dishes. Then take a fork and slightly mash down the mixture until it is evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle some grated cheese on the top.
  • I cooked mine at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes. Check the oven after 10 minutes & adjust where necessary. Ensure your food is fully cooked before removing from the oven.
Posted on 2 Comments

Difference between Best Before, Use By & Sell By

When I stood watching a female friend pick up a bottle of milk and pour it out, saying it was past its’ best, despite not even smelling it. I sneakily took a look at the use by date by offering to pop the bottle in the recycling. It still had three days to go. I couldn’t resist. She poured out about 2 pints of milk for absolutely no reason. I asked why she’d poured it out as the milk was fine. Her response was that it only had a few days left and she didn’t want to take the chance.

Now for most of us, that kind of wastage is simply ridiculous. It’s throwing good money away to replace food that isn’t even at the use by date. I’m not a pensioner, but even I grew up with no dates on food, meaning we had to choose the time food was no longer safe to eat or drink. I’m actually amazed our species has lasted so long, as we’re just so absolutely BAD at judging safety of food, because we really have never had to work it out for ourselves.

For cooked food, my grandmother used to work on the association of three’s. Three hours to the fridge/freezer, and three days to the bin. There were no dates on sliced meat from the local shop, but it never lasted long enough to worry about turning. For milk, she would have kept it until it began to turn, but given that milk rarely ever lasted that long, it isn’t something we had to worry about.

Then it came to my kids. My eldest and youngest, both started refusing to eat crisps or biscuits that were past their best before date. I grew up learning to ignore best before dates as they are really just best quality guarantee dates for longer lasting products. I have no idea where they got that idea from, and I do my best to help them stop this ridiculousness. My teens will often refuse to eat perfectly good food that is close to or past a best before date. They clearly struggle with best before and use by, even with my constant nagging.

The problem is that younger people in my circles, are too used to an abundance of food. Before the rise of the super supermarket chains on mostly every corner, food was simpler, and we bought less. There were also far fewer choices and we ate far more healthily as families where we could afford it. As a general rule, my parent and grandparents brought home enough for each day. A pint of milk on the doorstep daily, with eggs and cream once a week. We tend to go further to shop nowadays and buy food that is aimed at lasting longer by the manufacturers and processors.

To make food last longer, they add all sorts of preservatives and additives, which reduces the quality of our food. I’m not convinced longevity is improved in most cases as almost everything, including bread, now seems to come previously frozen and defrosted before hitting the shelves. When I see best before dates, I can see my grandmother in my mind, saying best before dates is a way to persuade people to spend more of their money on new food. She knew what she was talking about, and as she owned and ran a grocery shop for many years, she was quite shrewd.

Food is different now. We’re faced with best before, use by and sell by dates on almost everything we buy.

Throwing away a fortune of perfectly good food, seems to be a problem with understanding and knowledge, and don’t forget that profit making industry.

Best Before Dates

For customers. This is simply a guide on when food should be eaten for the best quality, which the manufacturer will class as the date they will no longer guarantee freshness, scent, consistency etc. Things like sweeties and crisps, biscuits, packets, jars and tins of food, all fall into this category.

Some products will have a best before date before opening, which then it moves to a use by date of a few days kept in a fridge. Things like sauces, mayonnaise, long life milk and orange juices etc, fall into this subset of best before.

Use By

For customers. Again, a use by date isn’t always a date where food will be guaranteed to make us sick. It is, however, an indication of best quality, and helps shoppers to know when a food should be eaten by. As this is most often attached to foods with shorter shelf life, such as fresh bakery, dairy, meats, poultry etc, the quality can go down fast after the use by date. Manufacturers build in a buffer level, but the use by date is an indication of when safety of the product may begin to reduce.

Sell By

For retailers. This date lets shopkeepers and staff know when to remove the product from sale. The product will not be dangerous at this point, and there are still a few days to the use by date, but this allows a manufacturer to control how long their products with very short shelf life are displayed to customers.

Posted on Leave a comment

Diabetic Friendly Sushi!!

Yes, it can be done. When the PR agent for the fast 800, got in touch, I didn’t instantly have a look at the content, however, I spotted obesity and type 2 diabetes as I was hitting the delete button, so went back for another look, and felt this was shareable.

I’ve posted the recipe that was shared further down the post, as I do think there are many things which I already follow included in this approach by Dr Michael Mosley, who founded The Fast 800. I’m not a great one for hype, so I do play some of the fluff down, and with brands, there is always a lot of fluff, which makes it hard to see through to the reality sometimes.

Yes, the fast 800 website is more focused on diet and weight loss, however the diabetic angle and metabolism effects are what interest me most, as the sales approach is based on ‘how to flip the metabolic switch on your favourite fast foods.’ This is a far more powerful and useful than the weight loss one for me. I want ways of keeping blood sugar level, at any weight. This is about eyesight, limb loss and far more than simply extra pounds on the hips.

At the end of this post, I’ll share Dr Mosley’s words, but simply, it’s about replacing high glycemic index foods, which increase blood sugar, with low glycemic index foods, which help to keep blood sugar at an optimum level for the body. It’s about reducing the carbohydrate content in our daily food intake, which is simply the amount of glucose (sugar) we eat and drink, and replacing that with other forms of energy to live on, such as protein and fat, which help keep blood sugar lower.

Salmon Sushi

Dr Michael Mosley
Conventional sushi is made from rice which is carbohydrate loaded, whilst this alternative version is protein rich, sustains for much longer and enables the body to burn it as a fat fuel source.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Lunch, Main
Servings 1 person
Calories 381 kcal


  • 150 g Cauliflower
  • 50 g Cream Cheese softened
  • 0.5 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 0.5 tbsp Tamari
  • 1-2 sheets Nori Paper
  • 0.5 Cucumber sliced lengthways into thin strips
  • 0.25 Avocado sliced thinly
  • 40 g Smoked Salmon
  • 0.25 Lemon juice of
  • Pickled Ginger for serving


  • In a pan over medium-high heat, fry cauliflower rice with tamari – cook until it dries out (about 5-10 minutes).
  • Allow cauliflower to cool a bit and add to a bowl with cream cheese and rice wine vinegar. Mix together well and place in the fridge until cool.
  • Once the rice mixture is cooled, you can start making your sushi.
  • Place a nori sheet down on a board, rough side up (or bamboo rolling sheet if you have one. Spread some of the cauliflower rice mixture in a thin layer over the nori sheet, leaving about 2cm/¾  inch of empty space at the top.
  • Place all of the filling items along the sushi roll, don’t over fill.
  • Roll sushi tightly (using a bamboo sheet if you have one as this will give a tighter roll).
  • Repeat if you have ingredients left over.
  • Cut sushi into 2cm/½ inch portions and serve with lemon squeezed over the top and pickled ginger.


  • If following a gluten free diet, please check the label of the tamari to ensure there are no sources of gluten.
  • Swap the salmon and avocado for your favourite sushi fillings!

How to‘flip the metabolic switch’ on your favourite fast foods

Dr Michael Mosley, founder of The Fast 800, is a big fan of the term ‘flipping your metabolic switch’ and he firmly believes the concept can help treat obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as improving brain health, blood pressure and inflammation.“Your body is like a hybrid car”, Dr Mosley explains. “It runs on two main energy sources, sugar and fat. The body will burn glucose (sugar) if it is available, which comes from carbohydrate rich foods like bread, potatoes and pasta. However, fat is a far more efficient source of energy, and switching from using glucose to using fat as your fuel source can lead to a host of benefits.

So, what does ‘flipping the metabolic switch’ actually mean when it comes to food choices and preparation?

Fast 800 Salmon Sushi is a GREAT example of how to carry out this simple but impactful food flip.  Conventional sushi is made from rice which is carbohydrate loaded, whilst this alternative version is protein rich, sustains for much longer and enables the body to burn it as a fat fuel source.

Posted on Leave a comment

Party Cocktails – Perfect for Xmas

Before I start, I’ll just say I did not receive any reward for posting this. When it’s coming up to Christmas time, lots of us often look for inspiration and something different from the regular Martini, Manhattan, Mojito or many more of the oldies.

I’d received a press release from Aloha 65, and learned that it was created by a British barman, at his Florida beach bar, and created to lure in surfers looking to wind down after riding the waves. It started off as homemade gifts, but became a crowd pleaser, a unique sundowner to put a smile on the faces of tired paddleboarders. Some quick facts below and a couple of recipes shared by Aloha 65.

Vegan Friendly

What’s in it?

Beautifully and naturally crafted, Aloha 65 is vegan and made only from fresh ingredients and has no added colourants. It’s an all-natural, 27% ABV spirit drink made from just six botanicals including pineapple, ginger, and a kick of scotch bonnet chilli.    Aloha 65’s ‘Sun on a Beach’ hot sauce is made from the same ingredients (minus the alcohol, of course), and their spicy pineapple ‘detonators’ use just two of Spirit of Aloha 65’s main ingredients, pineapple and chilli, and well… boom!

The Alohan spirit

‘Aloha’ isn’t just a friendly greeting, it’s a way of life.  It puts a smile on your face.  Alohans, as we like to call them, live each moment to the full and always bring their A-Game, but with respect for others and their environment.  Aloha 65 is a proud supporter of Ocean Generation.


Aloha 65 Holiday Cocktail

Aloha 65
Originally sent to me as a Halloween Cocktail, the styling and imagery just bring Christmas to my mind, so I'm sharing it as a Christmas Recipe.
Course Beverage
Servings 1 Person


  • 50 ml Aloha 65
  • Tomato Juice
  • Half Lemon (Juice Only)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Aloha Hot Sauce
  • Stick Celery
  • 1 Pinch Celery Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper
  • Ice
  • Lemon and Celery to Garnish


  • Fill a glass with ice.
  • Add Aloha 65.
  • Add Lemon Juice and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Top up with tomato juice.
  • Stir using a celery stick.
  • Season with celery, salt, pepper and a dash or Aloha Hot Sauce

Festive Punch (Serves 10)

Aloha 65
Liven up any party this festive season with this unusual punch.
Course Beverage
Servings 10 people


  • 500 ml Aloha 65
  • 500 ml Brandy
  • 1.5 litres Apple Juice
  • 100 ml Orange Juice
  • 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Apple (Sliced)
  • 1 Orange (Sliced)


  • Fill a jug with ice.
  • Combine the Aloha and brandy with the apple juice in the jug.
  • Add cinnamon sticks and a slice of apple and orange.

Available to buy at and on Amazon

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Life Changing Benefits of Eating Avocados

person holding black smartphone
person holding black smartphone
Photo by ready made on

One of my all time favourites is an avocado. I’m always surprised by friends who never actually eat one, and have no idea what it is or what it can be cooked in. That’s slightly depressing for me, as it’s something I’ve eaten for so many years, it’s become a staple ingredient in my home.

As avocados come from evergreen tropical trees, the word avocado refers to both the tree and the fruit we eat. There are literally hundreds of varieties, but what we eat, is the extremely nutritionally laden fruit, which can be referred to as both a fruit and a seed of the avocado tree.

I think the confusion around using avocado is that it’s called a fruit, but it isn’t a sweet fruit. With a creamy texture, they have a high fat content rather than a high water content, and are more buttery flavoured than sugary.

10 Life Changing Benefits of Eating Avocados

1 – Rich Source of Nutrients

100g Avocado

Calories: 160
Fat: 14.7g
Sodium: 7mg
Carbs: 8.5g (7g are from fibre)
Protein: 2g
Vitamin C: 10mg
Vitamin E: 2.1mg
Potassium: 485mg
Magnesium@ 29mg

Looking at the nutrition list, we can see that although carbs are sitting at 8.5, a whopping 7g are from fibre, which makes this a very nutritionally beneficial fruit for diabetics.

2 – Low Glycemic Index – Helps Slow Digestion

As mentioned in point 1, the high fibre content for the carb count, means that this is a very good carbohydrate indeed for those who are trying to keep their blood sugar down. With a Glycemic Index of 0 or no record, this is a fruit that has no impact on blood sugar levels.

In fact, adding avocado to bread or other carbs, with avocado having no GI, with such high fibre and healthy fats, the meal will be digested more slowly and keep you feeling full for longer than other toppings or creamy additions to other carbs.

3 – Fat Content is Healthier Than Many Other Low GI Foods

A whopping 14.7g in 100g are fat, however the majority of the fat in an avocado is actually the healthier version of fat, called monounsaturated, which can help in lowering bad cholesterol levels. There is a link in the reading list below that gives you more information about what monounsaturated fat is and why it is the good fat. The short version is due to monounsatured fat coming mostly from plant sources.

Avocado on Toast
Photo by George Milton on

4 – Fibre Content is Good

With around 7g of fibre in half an avocado, there are all sorts of gut health benefits to eating avocados. Eating an avocado in a day, is a very large 14g of fibre, which is going to help keep constipation at bay, and as a result, would help reduce the risk of IBS and piles.

5 – Vitamin E Matters for Eyes

Nutritionally, we tend to ignore the importance of vitamin E. With that 2.1mg of Vitamin E in half an avocado, it’s a rich source of vitamin E. Alongsice carotenes, it’s thought to help keep eyes in good condition and healthy.

As an antioxidant, vitamin E is important for skin, hair and nails, as well as the eyes. It can also help reduce the speed or onset of macular degeneration, which is serious and progressing, and something my father suffered from. It’s 100% sure that he would never have known how avocado might have been able to help him slow the speed of his sight loss. I can also see how it would have helped my mother, as she had cataracts, another condition that vitamin E can help reduce the progression of.

6 – Linked Health Issues

Metabolic syndrome is a fairly new term, but it is a range of issues which can all be helped by the same management techiques, for example, better diet and exercise. Symptoms include high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, being overweight, high cholesterol etc.

Eating avocado as part of a management system which looks at keeping the syndrome at bay, or controlling symptoms via eating better and moving more, and avocados can play a big part. With the high fat content, avocado can help reduce hunger pangs and keep us full for longer, while working in tandem with a lifestyle that can help to lower weight as part of a weight management programme, reduce cholesterol levels and keep type 2 diabetes from causing negative effects.

7 – Avocado Eaters are said to be More Healthy

Generally speaking, those who eat avocados, tend to be people who are food and health conscious. While there is also the debate about financial constraints, this isn’t the article to go there. This is simply about benefits of avocados for those who eat or would like to eat them.

Those who eat avocados are usually those who exercise and experiment with their food, but this is not always the case. There’s always room to add healthy food to our weekly shop if we can afford them, and being a little adventurous and trying new things can be good for us.

8 – Easy to Add to Food

It’s easy to add avocados to meals and pop into recipes of all kinds, as well as being ideal to use as hidden veg in kids soups and sandwiches.

  • Smushed avocado for using on toast, in dips like guacamole, and as filler for sandwiches.
  • Add in cubes to salads, soups and stews.
  • Slice in layers, and pop a poached egg on top.
Egg on Bed of Sliced Avocado
Photo by Dana Tentis on

9 – Improve Dental Health

Avocados are said to help with dental health. As that low GI food, it isn’t adding syrupy sugar to your mouth as you eat, and the flavonoids can help keep bacterial and fungal grown in our mouths from becoming a problem and leading to bad breath.

10 – Aids Wound Healing

While avocados aren’t a miracle food, they really one one that is helpful for us all to live well as part of our diet. Looking at the points above, and taking them as a whole, wound healing is helpful and understandable, when we consider the benefits that can help with prevention of bacterial and fungal overgrowth, so in the same way, avocados can help with wound healing through keeping the metabolic system functioning well.


Personally, I wouldn’t eat avocado on toast or smushed in general, but I do use it in soups, puddings and make dips with cream for raw vegetables. Saying that, growing up, it was never an ingredient that my mother would have put into her shopping basket. I think lack of internet in those days also made a difference in what things we choose to try. In my grandmothers day, avocado was probably never, ever an item in any shop she ever visited.

Yes, avocados are high in fat, but it’s the healthier monounsaturated fat, while they also contain loads of beneficial vitamins and minerals, keeping blood sugar levels steady and cholesterol levels low. Lots of good reasons to incorporate avocado to your weekly food shop.

Here are a Couple of Recipes with Avocado

High Protein Strawberry and Avocado Puree
Sugar Free Chocolate Mint Avocado Mousse

Further Reading List

Top 7 Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Avocados – Diet Doctor
What Is Monounsaturated Fat? (

Posted on Leave a comment

Brie & Fig Parcels Recipe

Brie and Fig Parcels by James Strawbridge

Celebrity chef James Strawbridge has created the following recipe for the UK’s fairest food delivery service 44 Foods.

Brie and Fig Parcels by James Strawbridge

Brie & Fig Parcels by James Strawbridge

Ethical, sustainable, and selling high quality British produce only, 44 Foods boasts a range of more than 20 cheeses from across the UK – which are delicious either on their own, in recipes, or paired with their stunning new range of British wines.
Course Appetiser


  • 140 g Organic Cotswold Brie cheese, Simon Weaver
  • 400 g Filo Pastry
  • 50 g 50g Butter Melted
  • 4 Melted Figs Quartered
  • 6 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Black Bee Honey
  • 1 Pinch Smoked Sea Salt Flakes


  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Cut the filo into 10cm squares and use them to line a greased muffin case. Overlap the square sheets by rotating every 45˚ to form a flower shaped parcel. Brush melted butter between each layer and repeat.
  • Once the filo pastry has all been used, fill the tart cases with a slice of ripe fig and a few pieces of diced brie sprinkled with chopped thyme. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese melts and the filo is golden brown. 
  • Remove from the oven and whilst still warm drizzle with honey and sprinkle each parcel with a pinch of smoked sea salt.
  • Serve warm with a chilled glass of Sharpham rosé to accompany.


Serving suggestion: Sharpham Pinot Noir Rose
Keyword brie and fig parcels
Posted on Leave a comment

Lets Talk About Chocolate

That lucious, lovely, silky, creamy smooth taste……..

chocolate in mug
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on

Chocolate and I would be joined at the hip if I weren’t diabetic. Not just any chocolate though, as I’m not a true chocolate connoiseur. I like milky chocolate, creamy chocolate, the not bitter milk chocolate that takes my breath away and stings my tongue. Dark chocolate makes me thirsty. I can’t find any way around it, but chocolate is versatile enough to be on my shopping list, even with the diabetes. I just eat it in moderation.

A few chocolate facts

  1. People mistakenly associate chocolate with diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure in all quantiites. For sue, eating a couple of hundred grams of chocolate a day equals a recipe for unhealthy living, but that’s not how most of us eat chocolate.
  2. Chocolate, via cocoa, does actually contain some beneficial to health ingredients, which in some studies, have even suggested chocolate in moderate quantities can help reduce cholesterol.
  3. Chocolate is high in calories, no matter which version is eaten. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, they’re all very high.
  4. Some studies claim that hot chocolate or low levels of chocolate consumption via drinking hot chocolate, can even help with dementia and cognitive function, but there is much research required to confirm or build on that.
  5. In the UK, researchers found riders used less oxygen cycling in trials after eating dark chocolate, which cycling weekly reported on in 2015, and regains covering in the news now and then.

Light and Dark Chocolate – What’s the Difference?

Dark chocolate is often portrayed as being the more ‘healthy,’ option. To be fair, I don’t think there’s terribly much in it if someone were to binge on chocolate.

As a rule, they are both in the region of around 550 calories per 100g. That’s a significant amount of sugar, fat and energy in such a small amount of food.

love dark bar broken
Photo by Vie Studio on

I’ve picked my favourite chocolate, Cadburys Dairy Milk, to do this comparison, although the internet keeps trying to persuade me that dark chocolate is better for me, I can’t help what I like to eat.

NutrientDairy Milk (100gBourneville (100 g)
Energy534 kcal524 kcal

Summary for Chocolate

As chocolate has such high calories, it’s always going to a food where moderation is the only sensible way to consume it, whether enjoy it or not. Some studies are suggesting chocolate has high levels of antioxidants and is helpful for health, but like all other food, moderation is sensible with a varied diet.

As a diabetic, I’ve heard the term “diabetes on a plate,’ to describe different foods, which is a pretty ignorant way to look at any food. For insulin dependent diabetics, sugar is what can save their lives if they go into a hypo, and for the non insulin dependent diabetic, one square of my favourite chocolate is always going to help alleviate a chocolate craving, whereas any amount of squares of a substitute or so called diabetic friendly chocolate, are still going to leave me disappointed and wanting the real thing.

As with everything, the other junk saying is ‘nobody ever got fat eating apples.’ Seriously, that just shows me someone is ignorant. It’s a load of old cobblers. Calories is he energy out v energy in argument, and yes, there are better calories than others, depending on the food eaten, however, if your body only uses 1300 calories a day to live, and you eat 1400 calories a day of apples, yes, you’ll gain weight eating apples. That might mean 25-30 apples a day, but yes, it’s very possible to get fat eating apples.

In the end, no harm has come to anyone from eating a few squares of chocolate. A few squares, not a few bars, or a few hundred grams a day. There’s a difference. For me, bring on the chocolate. I even cook with my choice of milk chocolate. Cooking chocolate is always disappointing and has no taste for me. I’ll always go for the real thing or do without as a flavouring. I’m always happy as I don’t really like eating cake, so give me a square of chocolate any time. My blood sugar is perfectly fine.

Bring on the smooth milky taste for me…..

Posted on Leave a comment

Healthy Heart Food

I’ve written nothing really to do with Covid-19.  I think Coronavirus is in the news enough, without bloggers jumping on the weekly covid update posts, but it’s also not something we tend to be able to ignore either.  For myself and my family, a lazy spell in the first lockdown, has moved towards a more proactive time for us in the Scottish Mum house.

I’d got lazy with cooking, so have gone back to basics this time around, with the sole intention of improving my own heart health.  I had stopped running when I fell and twisted both ankles in the first lockdown, and having to learn to run again wasn’t the easiest of things to do with two weak ankles.  I’m getting there, and I’m up to 30 minutes of uninterrupted slow running, but it’s been tough going.

Eating better again, is helping.  Here’s a short snapshot of ingredients I use frequently for heart health, with their main nutritional content.

Peppers   Each pepper, average
– Calories: 37kcal
– Carbohydrates: 7g
– Fiber: 5g
– Saturated Fat: 0.36g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0.084g
– Protein: 4g
– Sodium: 2.3mg
Avocado 100g
– Calories:  160kcal
– Carbohydrates:  9g
– Fiber: 7g
– Saturated Fat: 2.1g
– Unsaturated Fat: 11.8g
– Protein: 2g
– Sodium: 7mg
Salmon 100g
– Calories:  88kcal
– Carbohydrates:  0g
– Fiber: 0g
– Saturated Fat: 0.4g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0g
– Protein: 17g
– Sodium: 131mg
Broccoli 100g
– Calories:  34kcal
– Carbohydrates:  7g
– Fiber: 2.6g
– Fat: 0.4g
– Protein: 6g
– Sodium: 33mg
Cauliflower 100g (High in Potassium)
– Calories:  25kcal
– Carbohydrates:  5.3g
– Fiber: 2.5g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0.1g
– Protein: g
– Sodium: mg
Nuts 100g (Walnuts)
– Calories:  654kcal
– Carbohydrates:  13.7g
– Fiber: 6.7g
– Saturated Fat: 6.1g
– Unsaturated Fat: 56g
– Protein: 15g
– Sodium: 2mg
Tomatoes 100g
– Calories:  18kcal
– Carbohydrates:  3.9g
– Fiber: 1.2g
– Saturated Fat: 0g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0.1g
– Protein: 0.9g
– Sodium: 5mg
Garlic Clove
– Calories:  4kcal
– Carbohydrates:  0g
– Fiber: 0.1g
– Saturated Fat: 0g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0g
– Protein: 0.2g
– Sodium: 0.5mg
Potatoes 100g
– Calories:  58kcal
– Carbohydrates:  12.4g
– Fiber: 2.5g
– Fat 0.1 g
– Protein: 2.6g
– Sodium: 10mg
Sweet Potatoes 100g
– Calories:  90kcal
– Carbohydrates:  21g
– Fiber: 3.3g
– Fat: 0.2g
– Protein: 2g
– Sodium: 36mg
Butternut Squash 100g
– Calories:  41kcal
– Carbohydrates:  11g
– Fiber: 6.6g
– Fat: 0.2g
– Protein: 1g
– Sodium: 4mg
Celery 100g
– Calories:  16kcal
– Carbohydrates:  3g
– Fiber: 1.6g
– Fat: 0.2g
– Protein: 0.7g
– Sodium: 80mg
Carrots 100g
– Calories:  kcal
– Carbohydrates:  g
– Fiber: g
– Saturated Fat: g
– Unsaturated Fat: g
– Protein: g
– Sodium: mg
Turmeric 1tsp
– Calories:  4kcal
– Carbohydrates:  0.7g
– Fiber: 0.2g
– Fat: 0.1g
– Protein: 0.1g
– Sodium: 0.5mg
Ginger Root 1tsp
– Calories:  2kcal
– Carbohydrates:  0.4g
– Fiber: 0.1g
– Fat: 0g
– Protein: 0.1g
Soy Beans Cooked 100g
(High in Potassium)
– Calories:  112kcal
– Carbohydrates:  13.8g
– Fiber: 10g
– Fat: 2.5g
– Protein: 8.8g
– Sodium: 25mg
Okra 100g
– Calories:  33kcal
– Carbohydrates:  7.4g
– Fiber: 3.2g
– Fat: 0.2g
– Protein: 1.9g
– Sodium: 7mg
Medjool Dates  Each date – pitted
(high in potassium)
– Calories: 66kcal
– Carbohydrates: 18g
– Fiber: 1.6g
– Saturated Fat: 0g
– Unsaturated Fat: 0g
– Protein: 0.4g
– Sodium: 0.2mg

Posted on 1 Comment

Benefits of Bell Peppers & Pepper Recipe Suggestions

Some pepper recipes at the end of this post.

When it comes to health, we tend to overlook peppers quite frequently.  I have to admit to always having some in the freezer, waiting for when I need them.  I remove the seeds, chop and then freeze, which works great for us, but isn’t the best option for everyone.  Peppers do add a little splash of colour, and realistically, my choice of peppers would always be sweet ones, but it’s been an acquired taste for me.  I don’t use them often enough to buy and always have some fresh, so freezer options for me are the best choices.

Why Eat Peppers?

Put simply, peppers add lovely tones of colour and are full to bursting with healthy nutrients.  I don’t include chilli’s in my pepper cupboard, as I class those more as spices, and adding extreme heat to food, just isn’t my choice.   Some of you might be surprised to find that peppers are actually a fruit, in the same way that a tomato is, but with a definite slight kick to them.  We tend to eat bell peppers here in the UK, and we’re most used to seeing them in shades of red, yellow, green and orange.  As they aren’t spicy, they do well in most dishes, but the green it a little too spicy for me, although my kids happily eat them.

Nutritional Content of Bell Peppers

Each pepper, average:

  • Calories: 37kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.36g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.084g
  • Protein: 4g

Peppers on average, also contain vitamins and minerals, such as:

  • Calcium
  • Choline
  • Copper
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Vitamin K
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium
  • Sodium

As if that isn’t enough, they also contain Phytonutrients that help alleviate stress.

  • Carotenoids such as lycopene and lutein
  • Polyphenols such as luteolin

The Vitamin C Boosting Ingredient

Bell peppers are high in Vitamin C, which helps the body to regulate its own immune system, to remain healthy.   There is about double the amount of Vitamin C in a red pepper, than there is in a medium sized orange, which I find surprising, and an easy way to get this nutrient into savoury meals.  This is a major boost, given that a lack of Vitamin C can lead to increased risk of colds and infections.

How to cook and eat Bell Peppers

As they’re so versatile, they really can go in almost anything savoury.  I add to burgers, mince, soups, stews / casseroles and stirfries, as well as padding out fishcakes, pasta dishes, pies, bubble n squeak, topping pizzas, roasting them whole with a filling and much more.  Some people even eat them raw in a salad, or use cut them into strips for dipping, but for me, that’s a step too far with a pepper.

Some Pepper Recipes Below

Home Made Burgers with Red and Orange Peppers

Lesley Smith
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Mains / Burgers
Cuisine British
Servings 5 -10


  • 800 g Lean Minced Beef.
  • 60 g Red Pepper chopped.
  • 60 g Orange Pepper chopped.
  • 50 g Onion finely chopped.
  • Half Teaspoon Salt.
  • Half Teaspoon Pepper.


  • Put your mince into a bowl, and then pour in the chopped vegetables.

  • Add in the salt and pepper.

  • I use my hands for best effect with this, as I find that a wooden spoon takes too long, and just doesn't allow the peppers and onion to be fully mixed with the mince. It takes a couple of minutes to thoroughly mix the food together until it is in a loosely bound state.

  • I use a cheap burger press I bought from Lakeland that makes burgers around 180g each, but before that, I used to make mine by hand, simply taking a dollop of the mixture and shaping it into a patty with my hands.

  • For smaller burgers, you could easily get around 10 from this mix, but I made 5 larger burgers.

  • Everyone had different requirements for how they like their burgers cooked, ie red in the middle, fully cooked, or almost burned black. I like mine well done, so gauge your own timings for cooking in a moderate oven for as long as you need to.

Roasted Stuffed Peppers – Onion, Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese, Served with Quails Eggs and Salad

Lesley Smith
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Mains, Starter
Servings 6


  • 6 Whole Peppers Red, Green or Yellow (can be mixed)
  • 500 g Mushrooms Chopped
  • 2 Large Onions Chopped
  • 250 g Cheese Grated
  • 12 Quails Eggs
  • Salad
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil


  • Put your oven on to pre-heat at approximately 180 C.
  • Slice the top of your peppers and put it to one side. I had to take slivers off the bottom of mine to make them stand up, otherwise they just toppled over. If you buy your peppers loose, you can look for the perfect peppers to do this with. Hollow out the peppers and remove the seeds.
  • Fill the peppers with grated cheese, pop the lids back on and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top, and drizzle olive oil over the top of the peppers.

  • Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the peppers are soft.
  • Lightly fry the mushrooms and onions in a frying pan and put the Quails eggs on to boil. 4 minutes in boiling water only.
  • When the peppers are cooked, place them on a bed of lettuce or salad leaves. Take off the top and fill with the onions and mushrooms, add sliced quails eggs and serve.

Mixed Pepper Bake

Lesley Smith
4 from 1 vote
Course Mains


  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 2 Yellow Peppers
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 3 Small Onions
  • Handful Green Beans
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • 400 g Turkey Bacon


  • Barbeque Flavouring


  • Stir fry chopped onions and green beans in a frying pan with some rapeseed oil until they soften. If you plan to add some flavouring, this is the time to add it.
  • Use a slotted spoon or spatula to put onions and green beans into a shallow baking tray.
  • With the remains of the oil used for the onions, lightly fry your turkey bacon until is cooked to your taste. With the barbeque flavouring still in the pan, ours took on that flavour.
  • Pop the chopped peppers and turkey bacon into the baking tray and bake at 180C for twenty minutes, or until the peppers are cooked through.

Mashed Potatoes with Chilli Peppers

Lesley S Smith
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Sides
Servings 6


  • 3 - 4 Kg Kestrel Potatoes Scotty Brand Potatoes
  • 2 Oz Butter
  • 100 Ml Fresh Milk
  • 2 - 3 Chillies or Peppers Choose brightly coloured options and chop finely


  • Simply boil potatoes in a pan for 15 - 20 minutes until soft.
  • Drain potatoes and begin to mash. After a minute, add the butter and mash a few more times. Then add the milk to finish mashing your potatoes into a thick creamy consistency. I add my milk a tablespoon at a time, just in case. Too much milk will also spoil the consistency of the potatoes.
  • Serve and top with chopped chillies or peppers (or both)

Source Information:

Eating Peppers: Ingredients, Benefits, and Prep Tips (

Bell Peppers: Nutrition Facts, Benefits, and Research | Nutrition Advance