I’ve had to miss a few days of blogging and testing. Mostly because i ran out of test strips, and partly because i wasn’t very well on thursday – I’d slept wrongly or something and my back was terrifically sore. Fortunately, a day of rest saw me aright again, and on friday i was shopping, as yesterday. Still, we’re all stocked up with food and stuff now, which is good – as the weather promises to be suitably inclement next week (and there’s snow on the ground now. not a lot, just a dusting, but still. its that cold! Not as bad as Stonehead has it up in Scotland, though, and i am *so* thankful for that…)

I’ve missed testing my BG. that offers a level of control that i’m just not ready to give up – plus it helps to “remind” me about my diabetes. with not testing, the last few days (except for FBG, i’ve kept enough strips to allow me to do that one, which is important) i’ve forgotten my meds, twice (yesterday lunch and dinner), and been awfully tempted by things i shouldn’t be having. *thankfully*, i stocked up on goodies while i was shopping on friday: diabetic chocolate from thorntons (the mint ones are lovely, but *hellishly* expensive (about twice the price of regular chocolate), and they still have carbs in, so i still can’t scoff a whole box in one go or anything, but i allow myself one treat after dinner, and it tastes all the better for it) and some diabetic suckysweets from Boots (also on the expensive side, and still have some carbs in, so i still have to be careful), so i do have something for my sweet-fix.

I also made, on friday, some raspberry mousse: take one packet of sugar free jelly, mix with 1/4 pint of boiling water. Add 1/2 pint cold water once the crystals are all dissolved, and then 1/4 pint of double cream and whisk furiously. put into tubs/bowls and leave to set. you can either eat on their own or put sugar free squirty cream ontop, or even pulverise some raspberries/strawberries, with a little sweetner, to make a sauce, which you can pour over, with a little squirty cream. Grate a little diabetic chocolate from thorntons over the top and you have a pudding worthy of anyone, diabetic or not!

Tomorrow i get to see Cathy (the diabetic nurse) when i can hopefully get some more test strips and certainly a prescription for some more meds (which i’m also running out of – and i need to find out how to get more if i run out between appointments with her). She said last time she wanted to stick me with the pnumonia jab this time, and check my feet over. I want to ask her for referral to see the eye specialist, as i’ve some concerns there, and i’m really hoping she’ll be pleased with not only my weight loss but also my BG figures. I also want to ask her if, if i keep up with this level of control, just once a month, one meal, i can have anything i want, no matter what it does to my BG, even if its just a small amount. Something that is too difficult to replicate in a low-carb way, for example, a meal involving ooh, i dunno.. roast potatoes, and a pudding involving spun sugar (the only examples i can think of off the top of my head!).

Its also weigh in day tomorrow, and my period is due to start today. Again, i’m keen to know if i’ve lost any more weight, and since i measure *real* weight loss between my periods (as that eliminates any possibility of weight loss/gain being due to hormones – water retention n that), if I’m below the 16 stone mark, i’ll be so so pleased, as that’ll be a real, concrete loss. I think i probably am as my belt has been tightening all month (and not uncomfortably so), but still. i don’t want to get too excited in case i’ve not and then i’ll feel terribly down. so we’ll see.

i also borrowed a book on crochet from the library, again. I’ve tried several times to get the hang of this but i’ve not managed it yet. Mum did show me, briefly, but i think i need longer with her, really. Maybe when i go to stay with them, which will be soonish, i think. In the meantime, i can have another go with this book. i keep trying, on the basis that different people explain things differently and one day it might just click for me. Still. we’ll see…

this afternoon i’m making loempia for dinner and possibly some kind of cake or something. We’ll see – i borrowed some low-carb books from the library and they’re really good – one in particular is *excellent*, a vegetarian low-carb book. Oh, and i’ve been experimenting with using lettuce leaves as a bread replacement for lunch: smear the leaves with something like soft cheese, then add maybe a slice of wafer thin ham, a bit of red pepper to go in the middle, then roll and eat. Yum. or you can use pickled red peppers, which are soft and sweet, fill the middle with tuna mayo or soft cheese mixed with herbs, roll and eat. double yum….

low-carb diabetic friendly no sugar no wheat flour cardamom cake with a chocolate cream cheese topping, and lil flakes of grated diabetic chocolate

the full cake - nomnomnomnomnomnomnom...

FBG this morning hit another new low – 5.7. I actually have a graph on my wall of my FBG, next to the computer, and while its a series of dots all over the place, up and down, there is also a distinctive downwards curve – at the moment, while i am still swinging all over the place, it tends to be clustered around 7 mmol – whereas a few weeks ago it was clustered more around 8 mmol, which is a distinct improvement. what i have to do now is to try to keep it a little steadier, at around 6mmol rather than 7 mmol. I’m getting there, though, slowly.

I also had half a piece of rye bread for breakfast, and that didn’t spike me, which is really good news. The next thing to try is a whole piece of rye bread, because if i can tolerate that, then it immediately opens up what i can have for breakfast a LOT, plus it really helps in terms of a cooked breakfast, that little bit of carb. i mean, when you think of a cooked breakfast, toast or bread almost always features in there somewhere, or if not those, then potato products like hash browns, waffles, that kind of thing, or even fried potato slices. i’ve said this before but its actually very hard eating a purely protein/fat breakfast, and you get tired of it pretty quickly.

I took jess out earlier, and we ran into the leader of the gang of youths who likes to trouble us, a boy (i reckon he’s about 17) called Anthony. He was hanging out with two of his mates, one lad i’ve never seen before, the other i have, who i think probably has ADHD or something similar – he seems to have too much energy bound up in him, very exciteable, talks at 3,000 miles an hour, that kind of thing. Anyway, when i saw them, internally i was like “uh-oh”, and prepared to ignore them, but they saw me and came over, wanting to stroke jess. I tried to clamp my jaw down on my amazement and let them stroke her, keeping a very close eye on them, but that was really all they wanted, and jess, being the loveable dog she is, was quite happy to accept a fuss and give them kisses in return. it was like, for a few minutes, the tension between us was dissipated because of Jess and it was quite amazing. Then they resumed their usual teenage persona, grunted, and slouched off, chain smoking under their hoodies. Quite amazing, really.

Tonight is saturday, and saturday, in the Michiel and kethry household, is pizza night. I experimented last week with a cheese/egg base, but this week i want to experiment with using a couple layers of spring roll pastry to make a very thin base. I’m going to layer them in the cast iron pan i have, so that there’s a bit stretching up the side of the pan all the way around, well greased – between the sheets as well – then brush over the top of it, beaten egg. This will create a waterproof barrier between the tomato puree mix and the pastry. I’ll then treat it as a regular pizza – tomato puree mixed with oil, garlic and herbs, with cheese and salami on top of that, and see how it works. What i’m not sure of is whether to bake the filo pastry a lil first, to seal in the egg proof layer before i put the tomato puree ontop… i think i will, at least the first time. With luck it’ll provide a stable, crispy base for a thin pizza… and the carb content will still be pretty low.

as you can see, it wasn't an unmitigated disaster! Was actually pretty good, although it needs working on.

I simply laid filo (aka spring roll) sheets in the pan – where the sheets weren’t big enough, i layered them, although i never used more than 3 sheets per pan – brushed with oil to make the sheets stick to each other – and then with egg, to help provide a waterproof coating. tomato puree (mixed with olive oil, herbs, pepper, paprika and worcestershire sauce) went ontop of that, and then i treated it like a regular pizza – mozarella, cheddar, parmesan, salami, mushrooms, and lots of herbs and pepper. The net result was good – i love the crispy edges of the filo pastry where nothing had been baked on it, crispy and helped with a real crisp craving. the underside of the pizza was very very oily, though, which i wasn’t too happy about – had to wipe my fingers on tissue paper after eating. Not so good. So the next plan will be to see what i can get away with in terms of oiling the base – and perhaps experiment with cooking the sheets a little (with the egg wash), and THEN putting the tomato puree etc. ontop. Frustratingly, Michiel said he preferred last week’s pizza to this, but i preferred this one. argh.

In terms of BG, today was really good – the only time i went over 6 was before breakfast and after dinner, which is excellent in terms of keeping my BG stable (and what i need, really, to avoid the health complications from the diabetes).

Watched a programme tonight i’d recorded on the video thingie from way back around xmas (yes, we’re STILL catching up!), a horizon programme about dogs (link takes you to BBC Iplayer: the initial photo is a bit alarming but i assure you, the dog isn’t being harmed – its a thing to track dog’s eye movements when they look at human faces, nothing more sinister than that). I was absolutely right earlier when i typed about the power of a cute dog: apparently humans are preconditioned to respond to dogs in much the same way that we’ll respond to babies, and not only that, that stroking a dog triggers a release of something called Oxytocin, which is perhaps better known as the hormone that encourages mother-baby bonding, its released during breastfeeding and feels very very good. Even more amazing: dogs get the same release when we pet them. So if your pet looks like she’s enjoying that tummy scratch, chances are she really is – about as much as you are! Even more amazing: some dogs have the same cognitive ability as a 2 year old child: hold up a model or a picture of a toy train and ask them to go get it, chances are they will. But amazingly, Betsy, a very smart border collie, ALSO gets it – and she has a vocabulary of around 340 words. They’re keeping her location secret (understandably so), and the researcher said its not common to all dogs – she tried on her own, and was only able to get him to understand 2 words after a lot of training.

Still, it makes me wonder: we know Jess is intelligent, and that she deserves, really, to be encouraged to make the most of it, just as a human is, so i wonder how much she could do of something like that? so last night i tried training her… I’ll let you know how it goes.

[data behind cut]


… said in my best Monty Python voice.. although not as nuts as Monty Python’s stuff, i hasten to add!

I said before i was going to catch up with some of the photos i’ve been taking over the last six months or so.. so here’s some of the ones from Christmas… As usual, most are behind the cut, but be warned, its a very image intense post.

I adore this photograph. It just says "Christmas!" to me. This is actually a long table decoration that i made for Michiel's mom and dad when we visited them before christmas - there are wider shots behind the cut. there are actually four candles in the long decoration, the last is out of shot on the right, and unlit, as is the custom - we were then only 3 weeks into advent.


Well i don’t think anyone who knows me would be surprised by the next part!! I didn’t take photos of all the food – it was too gorgeous for that, i always thought about it afterwards! – but we did have some seriously good food while we were there. Our anniversary fell on 16th August, while we were there, so Michiel’s parents took us out to a greek restaurant we’d spotted. I had bruschetta to start with, which was lovely, so refreshing, and then the most gorgeous dish which i never would’ve chosen on my own, but Michiel’s dad suggested for me. It was three steaks, lamb, pork, and beef, grilled and then placed into an oven proof dish, with fried mushrooms placed around them. The three were then covered with a gorgeous greek brandy sauce, topped with cheese. A serious amount of meat, i couldn’t finish it all (which made Michiel happy) but it was seriously lovely. I have GOT to find out how that sauce was made…

Otherwise, highlights of the visit, foodwise, included: BBQ (two nights in a row, which made Michiel a VERY happy bunny), Indonesian food, both at Oma’s house and the following day, a little bit of Indonesian food for Michiel’s Dad’s birthday. I cooked a pasta dish once – my chicken pesto pasta – and we ate german food, of course, in Munster. But, enough is enough.. to the photos!


no, i’ve not been cooking… at least, not this time! I was lucky enough to pick up a bottle of Tesco’s Finest PX Jerez Xeres Sherry the other week, just about half price (and i very much fear they’ve stopped doing it – i cannot find it on the website.) I actually bought it as a treat for Michiel, but we both adore it so much i’m making a note of the stuff.. if i see it again, i’m buying it.

this is the label...

this is the label...

Its an intensely rich, dark, sweet dessert sherry – it knocks stuff like Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Croft’s cream sherry – the stuff i grew up with that mom would pour over the sponge in a trifle (and occasionally let me have a tiny bit out of the lid) into a cocked hat – the first flavour that comes to mind is sultanas or currants. You take a sip, roll the flavours on the tongue, then sigh softly, as you’re reminded just *how* good flavours can be…

Most people may not realise Sherry is now a protected name in the way that say, Stilton is, only fortified wines produced in a specific area of spain can call themselves a sherry. PX is actually Pedro Ximenez – the name of the grape the wine comes from.

Anyway. If anyone ever wants to buy me something, then take note. This is the stuff to buy. Rich and Fruity, PX Jerez Xeres Sherry, bottled by Luis Alvarez Garcia. I will love you forever….

other reviews: Guardian – “So syrupy it will almost have your fillings out”, Times – “Made from dried pedro ximenez grapes that yield an amazingly luscious, concentrated liquid which in turn is partially fermented to yield a rich, sweet, intense wine that oozes gorgeous, figgy, moscatel raisin scents and tastes, plus a fine toffee-charged finish.”, Telegraph – “Fortified sherries, madeiras and ports have staying power. This immensely sweet, toffee-and-raisin PX is virtually indestructible. Pour over ice-cream and vanilla panna cotta.”

doesn’t it sound simply gorgeous?

… hot gammon and roasties*!

cider baked gammon with a sugar-mustard-spice glaze.. absolutely gorgeous.

cider baked gammon with a sugar-mustard-spice glaze.. absolutely gorgeous.

apologies to the cast of “Oliver!” but thats what we had today – i’d managed to snaffle a large smoked gammon joint from Tescos for just £3.50 (whoopsied) and I found a gorgeous recipe for it today, here. Its an absolutely fabulous ham now, and i’ve had to restrain Michiel from scarfing the lot in one go. It was served with garlic roast potatoes, peas and parsley sauce. Very very Nom. The plate only shows the carved joint, but still, it looks gorgeous enough!

More food photos behind the cut…


… that first, fabulous, luscious, beautiful red, rich, sweet, oh-my-lord, toecurling goodness of the first home grown strawberry of the summer….

THAT, my friends, is what grow-yer-own is all about…. it really doesn’t get better than that…

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