A Sweet Treat – Pavlova

Sweet, dessert, pudding, whatever you like to call it, is the topping-off of a good meal. Carefully chosen to balance the type of meal preceding it, it can be a delight … and so very, very tempting, because one thing they nearly all have in common is a high carbohydrate content.  Still, don’t you find that  no matter how filling the main meal was, there still seems to be room for the sweet treat? (in our pudding stomach 🙂 ) And my favourite – the Pavlova – is no exception.

It is believed that the dessert we know as the Pavlova was created in honour of the Russian ballet dancer Ann Pavlova when on a tour of New Zealand in the 1920s (though Australia hotly contests this, claiming to be the nation that hosted this culinary naming)

It is one of my favourite desserts and a long time ago I found a virtually fool-proof method of making them which has become much appreciated in the family as when I make them I usually make 3 bases at a time (well, if you have the oven on you may as well fill it up, and they do keep quite well in a sealed cake tub) and this means more than one meal-time gets this treat.  These Pavlovas are also brilliant for when you have a horde of people round – each one cutting into 8 generous servings. Best when the fruit is in season – so choose in-season brightly coloured soft or softish fruit when you can (hard fruit, like sliced apple, just doesn’t sit as well with this dessert)

9 inch pavlova on 30 cm dia annmade octagonal slate cake plate

Ann’s Pavlova ( or Vacherin  – not the cheese!)  

This  looks like meringue but it is really an adaptation I have made of a Vacherin – which is a type of meringue made with icing sugar (usually whisked once, but over hot water – my method seems to work just as well and be less of a bother)

Makes a 9 inch Pavlova base or 40 half mini meringues

2 egg whites

4 oz of sieved icing sugar.


Whisk the egg whites until in stiff peaks.

Sieve the icing sugar and add to the whipped whites.

Whisk again until the mixture returns to stiff peaks

Either scoop into a piping bag and pipe small meringues onto a  greased baking sheet  (makes about 40 halves)

Or line the base of a 9” sandwich tin and grease the sides (or line a baking tray , draw a 9” diameter  circle, grease the sheet, spread or pipe the mixture over the area of the circle – adding a little more towards the rim.

Bake at 160 C or 140 C fan oven or Gas mk 3 (until palest fawn)

15- 20 mins for the small

1 ½  – 2 hours for Pavlova

Allow to cool gradually – I usually turn the oven off and allow it to cool before removing the pavlova bases.

To decorate use either 4 – 8 oz Cornish Clotted Cream or whip at least a quarter pint of Double Cream (taking care not to make too thick – nor runny) and spread evenly and thickly over the top.  Decorate with slices of soft / softish, fruits.

For mini-meringues. Whisk 1/4 pint double cream, place in piping tube with rosette nozzle. Pipe on one half – squeeze lightly as you stick the other half on.

Hope you find this recipe works well for you too!

Food is such an important part of our lives, it brings back memories, it can brighten our day or it can be a drudge and a scourge. How people eat and what they eat can help set scenes in novels too, can tell y0u a lot about the character without spelling it out. Take this excerpt from my novel Some Kind of Synchrony

The unexpected aroma of pizza, unmistakable in its amalgam of cooked cheese and oregano, stopped her for a moment, standing in her own hall, a rabbit poised for flight.  Then Andy appeared, filling the kitchen doorway.           

       ‘Thought I heard the door,’ he said and turned back into the kitchen.  Faith grabbed up the shopping bag and her handbag, pushed the door shut with the vigour it required, and followed him.  Two large size Pizzas stood on the table, one with the lid flopped back and a ragged wedge missing.  Andy held the remains of this piece in his fingers as he lounged against the worktop.  ‘Thought we’d have a pizza tonight – got the kids a video out too,’ he smiled, shoved the thick crust into his mouth and chewed contentedly, wiping his fingers on his jeans then folding his arms. 

I hope it’s painted a picture of Andy for you – to read the first three chapters of this book, and my others, free in PDF  just click here

And back to sweet treats. I hope you’ve all entered my Win a KINDLE draw if eligible – and let all your friends know so they can enter too! As for the Pavlova –  like I said, it is my favourite (and probably my downfall last week in FWT?),   so what is your favourite sweet treat – do let me know!


What do you get after Week of Feasting? FWT? Week 12

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t quite a whole week of feasting, but when you eat out or eat rather too well for four days out of seven it sure begins to feel like all you have done is eat … rather too well.

As you’ll know if you have been following FWT? I’ve been doing this blog since a few weeks after I started keeping a record on the drop-down pages, from Jan 1st 2012, weighing in at 12 stone and deciding to DO something about it. I am far too busy with my business annmade slateware, and my novel-writing, to take time out to visit a gym or run around the roads, so this is my solution, less than 15 mins of resistance weight training a day and some stretching and aerobics (max half an hour) yes – that’s it, Not Dieting – though not overeating (supposedly) and keeping an eye on the carbohydrate consumption. All details on the drop down pages from Fat Woman Thinning?

The week began as usual with Sunday, which I have noted before is quite food- heavy, right from the fry-up of egg, bacon, mushrooms and tomato followed by (thin) toast butter and marmalade – through a full traditional English Roast dinner with dessert to follow! yep – that’s a full foody day. So when I add to that a meal out with friends on Tuesday evening of a well-endowed mixed grill, even with restricting the chips to 6 [ok – yes – they were large chips 🙁 ] and that after having eaten a main meal at lunch time (though no tea)

As if this were not enough, Wednesday being my parents 59th wedding anniversary we took them out for lunch. I chose wisely – I thought, chicken breast wrapped in bacon and topped with a slab of melted brie. With plenty of salad, a few carrots, calabrese and 2 small new potatoes. Then I came unstuck  as I plumped (get it) for a pavlova! (enough sugar in that to launch a space rocket)

Which brings me to this weekend… family .. I mean FAMILY down for the anniversary. Lunch (mid afternoon type) for 20, Turkey, salmon en croute, new potatoes, calabrese, salad,.. followed by Pavlova (yes I know – but if I say so myself I do make a very nice pavlova) and Mille feuille, and Anniversary cake ( a chocolate and vanilla marbled sponge cake – iced) and clotted cream.


Oh and then a wide range of cheeses to select from with crackers and grapes.……



BTW – all photos of food on Slate – show annmade slate products.

So am I surprised that I did not show any weight loss this week?

No, not really. Especially as, though I kept up most of my weights I had missed more aerobic and stretching sessions than I had completed.

So – still at 10 stone 9lbs.

Waist measurements ?  Well, as you would expect, on the relaxed measurement – no change….. BUT  to my amazement …..

on the pulled in tight measurement  HALF and INCH loss. Now every time I ‘pull in’ as TIGHT as I can .. so last week would have been pulled in tight, I can assure you ..

yet half an inch .. yes I double checked.

I shall hang on to that measurement as a sign! And make sure next week is 1, normal in eating pattern, and 2, well exercised.

Ok, then cheerleaders .. I’d love to hear you comments on this week!

And don’t forget to enter (and tell everyone else to enter) my free and easy-to-enter Win a KINDLE competition – all the details HERE   – don’t leave it too late – only 1,000 allowed to enter – then it must be drawn!


Three Cheers for Eggs!! FWT? Week 11

Hi All, it has been a even more than usual busy week here, what with my parents’ 59th wedding anniversary and preparation for giving a talk, on Slate and Repousse work on recycled aluminium cans, to another WI, I’ve been a bit slow off the mark in getting this FWT? update onto the page!  I know I have a few die-hard followers who check out my drop-down weekly progress from the menu bar and already know the results. And it is from one of these came that comment that I had ‘done a great job for eggs’ on my recipe page on the fast egg I eat nearly everyday for breakfast, so this week I want to share it with you all.

If you are new to my Fat Woman Thinning? series of 52 weekly blogs then Welcome! You join a select group of cheerleaders who are encouraging me and keeping track of how I get on. And why did I do something as drastic as posting all this? Well, losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new strategy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles – and I needed accountability.

This had to be manageable, so I have worked out what I can do at home and it doesn’t take long – the weights never more than 15 mins and the aerobics and stretching is worked to follow a half hour of music which I usually fit in just before bed (amazingly, I find it relaxes me and makes it easier to get off to sleep).   If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to read the first 3 chapters in pdf !

But before we digress and I send you off  into the blogosphere, what about these results? Remember I am Not Dieting – just watching how much carbohydrates I eat, making sure I don’t over-eat, or go hungry between meals, drinking a glass of water before main meals, eating well and doing the resistance weights work-outs each day. (see week 3 and 5 drop downs for details) .

Last week I lost 2 more pounds! Now at 10 st 9 lbs (67.8 kg)  – that’s 1 st 5lbs down from where I started on the first of Jan. Waist measurements down too, relaxed at 37 is one inch down and pulled in at 34.5 is half an inch down – so I am well pleased this week!

As you will know if you’ve checked out the lists of foods that I eat each day – or indeed looked at the last week’s FWT? blog Does this LOOK like a diet to you (where I photographed every meal and snack for a week), I am positively in favour of eggs.

Poor eggs, so much maligned that in so many people’s minds they are still in the ‘naughty’ box. And if there is one part of the egg that has been demonised most it is the yolk – when we now know that the yolk is the best part, containing protein, trace minerals,  vitamin D and essential fatty acids in greater proportions than the white. Only the other day I heard some star who chimed ‘Of course, I only eat egg-white omelletes’.  If only she really knew what she was missing! However, while this goes on it is hard to rehabilitate the poor egg!

 Eggs are good for you! They have GOOD cholesterol Oops, was I shouting? 🙂  (Back in the day ‘they’ didn’t even know that there  was good and bad cholesterol – yet the misguided idea that ‘eggs have cholesterol and therefore must be bad for you’, has stuck like egg-yolk to a hot plate!)

Yep, that’s right – eggs have been re-instated as a GOOD thing to eat as the cholesterol in eggs is GOOD cholesterol and so is helpful to your body as well as giving you a fast breakfast that staves off the hunger pangs for longer and it naturally comes with vitamin D and a whole heap of other goodies including Essential fatty-acids all provided in a neat package  – what’s not to like!

Don’t just take my word for it – have a look here on Cholesterol-and-Health.com for all the technical stuff!

So, what do you think about eating eggs? Do share – I love to hear from you all! And while you are sharing – don’t forget to enter and share the fantastic draw I am running for one lucky person to Win a Kindle 


Have you got Resistance Weights in your fridge?

Inspired by the Kitchen Resistance training video I posted a few weeks ago  I have been thinking about how you could get started on resistance weight training if you didn’t happen to have a son who was, 1, into weight training and 2, had left a load of his weights in the barn where you could ‘borrow’ them. MizFit used soup cans – but at the most these weigh-in at only 500g – and as I started with 2 kg* dumbbells, 500g wouldn’t offer much ‘resistance’.  I could go on ‘forever’ with such light weights and the idea is to achieve over 15 repetitions but ‘fail’ (find it too difficult to go on)  at a number that is not so high that it takes much time to reach. (*True, my work that I do with slate means I have quite strong arm muscles to start with, and many would start with a bit lighter.)


I had just come back from the supermarket where I had bought, amongst other things, milk.  Now it is only in the last eighteen months that we have had to actually buy milk. Up until then we kept milking goats – British Saanen. However, home circumstances meant that having to milk every morning was not a viable option anymore so we traded in our milkers and went for Boer Goats instead (more of which elsewhere and later)



Well, having a ready supply of milk encourages you to drink lots of milk and to use lots of milk in culinary ways. So, now I find myself buying what seem to be vast quantities of milk each week. There I was heaving this bag out of the boot of the car. It contained one 6 pint and three four pint plastic bottles. Wow, I thought, these are heavy! And that was when the little light bulb went on.

I went right in and weighed a 4 pint bottle. 2.430 kg. It has a comfortable handle to hold it with and with one in each hand I performed bicep curls, front raises, lateral raises and triceps extensions.  And, I thought to myself, AND  you could start with them half full of water if you weren’t feeling very strong, and as your strength increased you could add more water to suit.

I next weighed the 6 pint bottle, as good mathematicians will have worked out instantly, this weighed in at 3.6 kg and was still comfortable enough to handle. It might be used for the snatch in the early stages, I thought.

Later I took an empty set (one of each) out to the farmyard and filled them each with sand my other half has waiting to do some building work. Now the 4 pint bottle weighed 3.5 kg and the 6 pt over 5.3 (my scales weren’t man enough to give me the correct weight). Certainly a decent weight to start the snatch with !!

So here it is – use the recommended exercises as on Week 3 page, with the video links on Week 5 page to guide you, and use milk bottles filled with water or sand to create your weights! The only tricky one is the wrist-curl – it still works but the weight is unevenly distributed.

If you don’t consume the quantities of milk we do then I am sure there’ll be someone who you can ask to save you some empty* milk bottles to use. *(WELL washed out!!)

If you try this let me (and everyone else) know – I’d love to see how well it works out!

Have you ever had a ‘light-bulb’ moment – the simple answer to something that has been eluding you? Do share – I love to her from you all! And while you are sharing – don’t forget to enter and share the fantastic draw I am running for one lucky person to Win a Kindle


Does this LOOK like a ‘diet’ to you? FWT? WEEK 10

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then, after three weeks, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again! If you are new to this blog – welcome!

Losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new strategy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles. This had to be manageable! I started out on Jan1st weighing 12 stone, now each Sunday morning first thing each week I weigh myself and measure my waist (level with the belly button) nude.  To lose weight I am using resistance weights as well as some aerobic and stretching, and watching what I eat, mostly watching the carbs (writing everything down as well) – but NOT DIETING !

Last week I set myself the challenge of photographing all my meals and snacks, as I could write down  ‘carrots, parsnip, beetroot’  for instance and I could be fooling you and having just one tiny piece of each, but the photos speak for themselves and I do eat everything on my plate. It turned out to be a bit of a food-prep lazy week as events meant I was short on extra cooking time and some short-cuts were made (Shortcuts usually result in ready-prepared or quick to cook vegetables (like peas and beans) which also tend not to be the best for you). If you took the time (why would you) to compare the lists of veg from this week and last you would notice the difference) Anyway – just remembering to photograph food was tricky enough! But here- goes … SUNDAY  MORNING THROUGH TO SATURDAY NIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHS (All fine details can be found on the Week 10 drop down from the FWT? button on the bar)

and this photographic meal line-up is missing the glass of Vouvray (sparkling wine) and half a bottle of raspberry presse (sparkling fruit drink) both quite calorific, and my usual one-third milk topped with boiling water – two or three (or four)  times a day and water – of which I drink a glass 10 mins before meals and with exercise. And, yes, you did see a great chunk of plain chocolate there on Friday – terrible day – sorting out everything (and I mean everything) in my kitchen! I needed support, but only one chunk at a time 😉

I don’t know about you – but I don’t think this looks like a ‘diet’ – I eat plenty – and not too fussily – but the weight is moving off steadily. Due, I am sure, to the exercises that I have taken up since the start of January, and to not worrying about the fats and proteins but keeping a watch to make sure I do not Over Do the carbohydrates.

Oh, and the results for this week – another 1 pound off and another half inch off both relaxed waist measurement and pulled-in waist measurement. What is there not to like?

Recording this photographically was an interesting project – have you ever set about recording something simple like this and found it harder and more interesting than you expected?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Lastly – if you have not entered, or shared, this fantastic draw I am running for one lucky person in just one thousand to WIN a KINDLE get over to the blog-post about it and enter and share! Thanks! And if you already have a kindle -why not  enter for a chance to win one for a friend. By the way, did you know that Ann Foweraker novels are all available as e-books ?



Fair maids of February to Leaping lambs

February Nature Notes – a round up of what has been happening nature wise in this little corner of Cornwall.

February started with a drift of snowdrops here as the snowdrops along the base of the Cornish hedge all decided to bloom at once, an effect heightened by the top of the hedge also being trimmed with these lovely harbingers of spring, also known as the Fair Maids of February, both singles and doubles.




Then came a set of really frosty days. We hadn’t had much this year and the Camellias were in full bloom, but, call me strange if you like, the resultant ‘coppery brown’ blooms had a beauty all of their own. It wasn’t long before new buds opened and the mixture of  frosted blooms and fresh ones was quite interesting.








Now if you remember, the frogs were beginning to call and mate leaving the odd clump of frog-spawn in the small shallow water-features in the new-wood part of the garden. By the second week in February you could hear the noise from the frogs in the main pond at 50 metres and the water features were heaving with frogs (I counted 14 in a small pool no more than half a metre square)

small pool


So click on this picture I took later to have a close look at that pool – how many frogs can you see?

Here’s a nice fellow who held still long enough for me to photograph him. And his friend : below.


The photo shows fresh frog spawn, in tight, high clumps, the centres a small black dot. The same frost that caught the camellia also caught the early frog spawn leaving it milky with dead white centres.







And while we are still at the pond and in the water (as it were) by the end of Feb. the newts were out and about – following each other around the bottom of the pool and getting frisky. By accident I found out how to get a good photo of these underwater (without the refraction shadow) you dip your lens in the water as you take the picture (I’m sure it’s not recommended)

Leaving the pond I have to report on the Moles and the Voles. The moles have been creating havoc with the pasture in the field – and are a proper nuisance – I’m sure I don’t have to post a picture of masses of molehills for you to understand. The voles, however, I am delighted to see – though see is perhaps the wrong word as they are mainly out and about at dawn and dusk. For the past three years there has not been much evidence of these small vegetation-eating mouse-like creatures with short tails. I am talking about the field vole – Microtus agrestis. ‘agrestis’ as they are aggressive little creatures – as I recall from my college days when we spent time catching them in Longworth traps (a harmless ‘trap’ that keeps them in a hay-lined box until morning when you tip them out to weigh and measure them for ecology study)  Now, I am not so pleased about their ‘runs’ (tunnels just beneath the grass that make the ground ‘squashy’) but I am pleased to see them return as along with them come an increase in the owls, as they are a substanial part of an owl’s diet. Strangely enough the population of field voles are recorded as having a four-year cycle – building up to to a peak then dropping back down again, so this may be just what has happened here.  So, apart from the ‘squashy’ feel to the grass in the orchard and around, how do I know they are there if I don’t see them?  Well there are plenty of their little entrances to be seen, a hole with a neat nibbled area just in front of it, as if they’ve sat safe in the hole entrance and nibbled around for a bit!

Lastly for February I’m venturing up the road for a picture of the lambs in the field nearby (yes,  know they aren’t leaping .. but the year is with the 29th) –  and the lambs-tails on the hazel tree.








As you may have guessed I love the Cornish countryside and it often features in my novels – especially Divining the Line and Nothing Ever Happens Here – both of which are mainly set in Cornwall.

What is it you love about the countryside round you – or even the nature in your own garden? Do share your enthusiasm for nature here – I love to hear from you!



Fat Woman Thinning? Proper ‘ansum Week 9

Welcome to week 9 of my fat woman thinning? blog – if you are new to this you need to know that I first just kept this as a log on the pages – to motivate myself and so my ‘cheerleaders’ that is my sons, could see how I was getting on. Then a a number of weeks ago I got brave enough to post it all as a blog

I had to do something, menopause seemed to have changed the way my body dealt with things – my usual way of maintaining my weight no longer worked and the weight crept on… and on until by Jan the first this year I weighed in at 12 stone!  So, now I am using resistance weights as well as some aerobic and stretching, and watching what I eat (writing everything down as well) – but Not Dieting!

Also, I don’t go to a gym.  I don’t have time to spend getting there, nor the inclination to flaunt my lumpy body in front of others, so I have worked out what I can do at home and it doesn’t take long – the weights never more than 15 mins and the aerobics and stretching is worked to follow a strict half hour of music. If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website  where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Well after last week – you know, no weight loss and only half an inch off waist measurement to console me – and of course no ‘treat’ for reaching my first milestone of 11 st – as I didn’t. I was ready to keep a keen eye on everything – extra carbohydrates that might sneak in and getting the exercises done.

Also, in the middle of the week came the start of a new month and with that the next set of photos to be taken. Ok, I know you can’t see them – perhaps when I work out how they can be on my site but not accessible to the world I will be able to post them. For now, suffice to say, I can see the difference – from the first of Jan to now – MOST noticeable, but even from first of Feb to first of March!

Apart from missing the odd portion of potatoes (like with the Sunday Roast where there is SO much else to eat I really (REALLY) didn’t miss them and the same for the mock-roast on Monday), and a slice of toast I usually have but didn’t this week, most meals were as usual. I shall attempt to photograph all the meals I eat next week for a photo record – in case you are thinking that the portions must be minuscule. Remember I am Not Dieting but I am doing extra weights exercises – you can find all this on the drop-downs on the top bar from FWT?


End of week 9 weigh and measure:

Weight 10 st 12 lbs. (YES! that’s 3 lbs down from last week!) that’s 152 lbs for those of you who think that way or 69.2 kg.

Relaxed waist measurement (level at belly button) 38.5 inches (98cm) Down a whole inch.

Waist pulled in tight – 35.5 inches (90.5cm) Down half an inch!

SO – ’tis proper ‘ansum, as the Cornish say about something good.

And now I can reveal my treat to myself  – I’ve decided on a new stylish wrap-around dressing gown – as a wrap-around it will still fit when I get down to my target, and it will make me feel good on the way!

Don’t you just love it when sticking at something works out to be the right thing to do? Have you ever felt like giving up but then by sticking to your guns it turns out right – I love to hear from you folks – share your experiences 🙂


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