Day 42: Homemade Pesto

Rob and I love to cook and, mostly, we manage to cook meals from scratch. Our boys can be fussy eaters but one meal they both love is pesto pasta: whole wheat fusilli with a dollop of pesto – until recently, we bought it as it was easier and we believed it was pretty healthy.

I read an article by Which? that changed my mind about shop-bought pesto. Reviewing standard pesto from seven supermarkets, they found all had added ingredients to bulk it out – among these were bamboo fibre, water, sugar and potato flakes. They often replaced traditional ingredients with cheaper alternatives: sunflower oil for olive oil; cashew nuts for pine nuts.

Reading this motivated me to find out how I could make my own pesto. I found a few recipes which I tweaked until I had a version I was happy with.

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Day 38: Painted Pebbles

As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s a time when many will reflect on the year gone by and look to the year ahead. It’s the busiest season of the year with so much going on every single day – we know that this time of year can be particularly daunting for people living with mental illness, in its many forms. Fortunately, there is help out there for anyone who needs support. 

On Day 38 of #100DaysNoTV we left some festive-themed painted pebbles around our little city of Ely. These are no ordinary pebbles; we hope they will help to spread the word about a wonderful community project, Talking FreELY.

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Day 34: Blackberry Sorbet

If there is one welcome sign that summer is getting closer to its end, it’s the abundance of ripening blackberries in the hedgerows. It has become a family tradition to go out and forage, and this year we decided to make something new with our bumper crop.

We’ve owned an ice cream maker for a few years, but it stayed unloved in its box. It was about time it had some use. On Day 34 of #100DaysNoTV we made fresh blackberry sorbet.

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Day 30: Valentine’s Craft

It’s the time of year once again when the days get a little longer, the spring flowers begin to emerge and my thoughts turn to celebrating Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure I am a hopeless romantic all year round, but I do like to make February 14th special for my loved ones.

I’ve been looking for a Valentine’s craft; something I haven’t tried before. Dainty string hearts caught my eye on Pinterest. They’re quick to make with no mess – perfect for getting the boys involved too. On Day 30 of #100DaysNoTV, we tried some Valentine’s needlecraft.

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Day 14: Clandestine Cake Club

I’ve been a member of the Clandestine Cake Club for a couple of years, but I’ve never been brave enough to go along to a meet. My image was of a group of super-talented bakers who would snort with laughter at my super-amateur attempt. But when I heard that Lauren – who I’d met at The High Tea Club – was running the Ely group, I decided to be brave. On Day 14 of #100DaysNoTV, I (nervously) took a cake that I had baked to share with others.

so, what is the clandestine cake club?

The brainchild of Lynn Hill, the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) began in Leeds in December 2010 with its purpose to have a place for cake lovers to meet and chat over tea and cake. “Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake” is their mission statement. What’s not to like?

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Day 11: Blackberry Vodka

Some of the best presents are those that are homemade: they show that the person giving it to you has taken time to make something special for you. With this in mind, on Day 11 of #100DaysNoTV we turned freshly foraged blackberries into Blackberry Vodka to give as presents at Christmas.

With the nights drawing in and the autumn chill a nightly feature, there’s something really quite lovely about snuggling up with a glass of warming fruit liqueur.

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Day 6: Thai Cuisine

On Day 6 of #100DaysNoTV we decided to cook Thai food as this month Thailand celebrates the new year festival of Songkran. The celebrations for Songkran (also called the Water Festival) take place over three days: day one is traditionally a time to clean and wash your house, day two is all about food, and day three (new year’s day) is when many Thai people visit their temples and bathe the statue of Buddha.

My experience of Thai food is limited to Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey and a handful of restaurant meals. Whenever I’ve seen someone cooking Thai food on television I’ve been moved by the vibrant colours, the imagined aromas and the freshness of the ingredients, and it’s long been something I’ve wanted to try for myself. So, with the festival of Songkran being so close to my birthday we decided it was a great time to try some Thai cooking.

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