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A Dinner Bell guide to the best protein sources

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urprise! I can almost guarantee none of you were expecting a post like this. For a blog that started out being 90% cake, a run-down of protein sources sure is a departure from the norm, but here we are. During the Idiot Challenge, with no days to recover from exercise, eating plenty of protein seemed important – but when you’re cutting down your meat consumption, this becomes alarmingly tricky. There are only so many egg whites a person can eat.

There’s this trend on the internet that for anything food-related, magazines love to present information in the least readable way possible, and often say things like “vegetables are high in protein!” but neglect to tell you that you’d need to eat a field of kale to get a decent quantity in grams. So I spent (what felt like) hours clicking through slideshows trying to find a range of high-protein foods that weren’t also high in fat, or stupidly calorific. Continue reading

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Chicken, leek & cider pie

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oday, we’re nearly halfway through the Idiot Challenge for Idiot People. Set and voted upon by a group of university friends, the challenge forces us (the idiots) to work out in some way every day for the month of April. leeksIt’s less stupid, now, than it otherwise might have been – we’ve negotiated “lighter” exercise, like yoga, in, in an effort to give our bodies a little rest. Two weeks in, and a few people have dropped days, but thanks to a refusal to give in, most of us are going strong, despite aches and the necessity to wake up before the sun to squeeze things in. We’re all exercising more, and better, for it – I guess it’s the way we support each other. This is what I left university with: one degree, and several stubborn, idiot friends.

And then, sticky dancefloors and counting coins in the half-dark. Bubbles up my nose and a too-strong fruit taste. Half-carrying my friend’s dad back to his house after too many “mystery strength” Somerset varieties. These are my memories of most ciders.

It was university, of course, that did that too. May we never drink cider and black again.

Quite understandably, I shy away from cider a little these days, lest I get caught out by something overly sweet and too full of bubbles; still, when given the opportunity to try the new ciders from Aspall, I leapt at it because, well, I have faith in Aspall.

And Waddlegoose did not let me down. 
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In Season: April

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onger daylight hours, no more excuses to live on chocolate, and aaaaaall the green veg in season: April has landed!

The other new thing, as if it being light at 6pm wasn’t enough, is a handy little month-by-month index at The Dinner Bell. You can find the page, which, as the name suggests, lists what’s in season each month with clickable links for exploring, here, or via “season’s eatings” in the menu. Continue reading

Spicy spring pasta with spinach and pea pesto

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id I add those ingredients just so I could have a fun title? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t part of the equation — but mostly it’s about the snuck-in secret veggies, because there’s something weirdly satisfying about being able to tick off your five a day very swiftly.

spring-pasta-2What can I say? I lead a thoroughly rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

Honestly, this week we’re all craving green things, whether it’s because we’ve acquired a lot of chocolate or just down to the brighter skies that come with switching the clocks back, (although that always seems to mean losing an hour’s sleep).

But it’s time for fresh starts, again, and rediscovery — the “tomorrow” we were awaiting the arrival of before it’d be sensible to look to getting in shape is here. And so we shake off the darkness of winter, peeling it away like soggy shoes after a rainy commute, and we dig into recipe books, reminding ourselves what vegetables look like, and we chuck in some extras.
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Birthday best bits – or, “that time I spent a week eating almost non-stop”

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ach year I experience three weight spikes. Holiday. Christmas. Birthday. It’s inevitable, and it’s earned.

True to form, the majority of birthday presents this year revolved around my two main interests, books and food, including what I seem to have decided is called “cocomond and almonut butter”. This year was particularly good, with a parade of meals out – that sounds fancier than it was – and a whole load of new discoveries. We’ll be here forever if I run you through it all, so instead, here’s my best bits.  Continue reading