Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Hairily delicious looking week!

Oh, I am enjoying using the Hairy Dieters book - we have had some great meals from it!


The cod and prawn gratin was really tasty - I used their sauce recipe, with cornflour, and frozen pollock fillets rather than cod. They suggested putting frozen peas in, but I'm not a great peas fan. Instead I used a leek and some mushrooms. We had it with broccoli and it was filling. I'd also made a baked fruit compote using blackberries that I'd foraged last weekend (I think they'll be finished now with the rain. A lot of them had gone mouldy on the bushes) and some rather hard peaches. I've been having that with a 0% fromage frais for dessert.

Last night's Harissa Chicken with Bulghar Wheat salad  was also good. I actually used a Quinoa/grain mix instead, but the end result was good. Due to a walk I did, My Fitness Pal said I had a few extra calories to use up, so I had a mini cake with my fromage frais. I was a tad peckish by the end of the evening, but I had a glass of milk with my night time pain killer and that helped me feel satisfied. Tonight we have a chilli planned, with salad and maybe bread. But maybe not.
So, I've planned next week's meals - they may change, of course, but this is what I'm aiming for:

MONDAY: Hairy Chicken Korma + rice. But I'm going to be using a piece of turkey breast that I've got in the freezer. I will probably throw some frozen spinach into the sauce to give a few more vegetable points to the meal.

TUESDAY: I don't want to go shopping until Thursday, so I'm going to be using stuff I've got around. I know I have chopped tomatoes and frozen "Italian style" vegetables, so I'm making a vegetable and pasta bake. No recipe needed for this. I may throw in some reduced fat parma hamthat I have - or we may have it "on the side" (or not at all!)


WEDNESDAY: We're having falafel burgers with an grilled aubergine and onion salad  (this recipe, but without the chickpeas and with much less olive oil in the dressing!) I'll use the rest of the chickpeas to make my delicious hummus to go on rice cakes as a snack. If I use as small amount of tahini as possible it shouldn't be too bad on the calorie front

THURSDAY: I'm going to make a Hairy beef and potato pie. This uses pizza base mix to give the crust - an interesting idea, which I will embrace! It is also a recipe for 6 small pies. I think I'd prefer to halve the quantities and make 1 pie for two of us and an individual one - but it all depends on what foil dishes I can find. I don't want to spend too much on something that I suspect gets peeled off and thrown away.
FRIDAY: Another Hairy meal - this book has really taken over from the River Cottage Experience, hasn't it?! - tonight. We're trying the Pork and prawn noodle broth. There's no recipe of this on line at the moment - the pork and prawn balls are almost exactly as on this recipe,but with a tad of chilli, half the amount of prawns and no sesame oil. The broth includes sliced peppers, carrot, garlic, shallots, ginger,  mushrooms and mangetout (not sure I'll be using those) served with 25g of rice noodles. I do have a Thai noodle pack that I got from Lidl. I may look at the calories on that and see if I can use it.

SATURDAY : Hairy Mushroom, feta and tomato baked peppers On this blog, somebody reviews and describes the recipe. She seemed to like it - let's hope we do!

SUNDAY: We've invited Gilles and Sylvie for lunch - must confirm it with them - and as Cathy arrives here today (that is today I'm writing, not today Sunday that I'm writing about!) I'll invite her to eat with us too. So I'm pushing the boat out a bit - but not a lot. We'll have smoked salmon paté (easy recipe - whizz smoked salmon, low fat cream cheese, and lemon juice together. Season. Serve with extra smoked salmon, if desired.) and then a Hairy Southern Style jambalaya. Afterwards, I'll be serving a Hairy Carrot and Sultana cake with ice cream, for those who want it. Now, while I'm not saying that's going to stay within my calorie budget for the day (especially as I'll be having wine too), the salmon starter is about 100 calories a go (according to MFP), the jambalaya is 341 and the cake 239. Of course, there'll be a bit of cheese eaten too, but if I don't have anything else to eat in the evening (or just a bowl of veggie soup) I shouldn't be TOO disastrously over.

As you may have gathered, I was very pleased about my weight loss last week. I was prepared for only 500g or so, so 2kg was great. I know I mustn't expect it every week though.
I am going to find this a little more difficult now though: As previously mentioned, friend Cathy is arriving today. She has a house out here that is being renovated (and she has just gone through a divorce, which we were all sad about, as we know her ex, Steve, well too.) and will be out here for a couple of months. She is very hospitable and the wine flows very freely there, together with the crispy-snacky-things that I love so well!! I will have to be remarkably strong willed to keep my wine consumption down when visiting - especially as I do love my wine along with the crispy-snacky-things!!! I don't quite know what I'll do - maybe try to stick to fruit tea (?!) and sit across the room from aforementioned snacks? We shall see!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Woo-hoo

I've weighed myself. In a week I have lost...

x8 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What are we eating this week?

Hello, Folks! Two posts in a weekend! Aren't you all honoured by my presence? (wink) Over at the Teapot you can find out the happy, happy things happening in my life at the moment (that's sarcasm, that is!). But one truly happy thing was the arrival of Si King and Dave Myers at the Fat Dormousehold in the form of the Hairy Dieters Book, so I will tell you about how I am going to put them to good use this week! (I wish they really were here to cook for me!)

First, let's find an inspiring picture




So, off we go!
Today we're having the venison roast I told you about last week. I didn't marinate it in the end. I'm just going to make a fruity sauce with a bit of pickle, a bit of port, and some stock. That way, I don't have to open a bottle of wine that we would then have to drink!

MONDAY: Cold (or may be flash fried) venison with mash, (mixed with apples and leeks) and a green vegetable.

TUESDAY: Venison burgers - I really hope there'll be enough meat to do three meals! It was expensive, so I really want to try to get three lots of main courses from it. If the minced meat looks a bit sparse I'll add a grated courgette to the mix (as suggested by my two favourite men of the moment!) I'll do potato wedges and salad with these. I've decided to try to do more soups than salads as starters - the salads were coming out at about 200 calories when I added all the ingredients together (the dressings added more than I imagined) which is too much, so I thought veggie packed soups would be better. Angela has one that is just the job, as I've got loads of carrots to use up. This, according to My Fitness Pal, is 113 calories per portion (if the recipe serves 4)

 WEDNESDAY: I'm going to make a bean and vegetable stew - basically, I'm planning on throwing all my bits of vegetable into the slow cooker, with a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of kidney beans/ flageolet beans. This is because I'm teaching all day, and also I think there is the opening ceremony for the Shopi-now-to-be-Carrefour-Contact supermarket where Mr FD works. I may be forced to consume a glass or two of wine!
If I remember to take my camera, photos will be published.

THURSDAY: Hairy Cod and prawn gratin (with some tweaking) I'll probably use a different white fish, and I'll use fewer prawns and no smoked haddock. I'm never really sure about whether one should post recipes on line - which is why I generally link to other people who have posted them. But I'm sure you can guess what's in a gratin of fish and prawns. What makes it "diety" is the lighter topping than a fish pie - breadcrumbs and a small amount of cheese - and a sauce made with cornflour, not cream.
However I read a tip for making a low fat white sauce that works, although the sauce has a slightly bizarre texture - chop an onion into 4, peel a clove of garlic. Put in microwavable dish, and cover (just) with water. Microwave for about 4 minutes, until onion is soft. Zuzz until smooth with a handblender/food processor, water + about 75 ml semi skimmed (or skimmed, if you prefer) milk included in the zuzzing. Add more milk to give a looser texture. Season to taste.
 I would guess this is lower in calories than the cornflour sauce. It's already got onion & garlic so is quite toothsome, and doesn't require the milk to be infused (if that's what you do. I certainly don't!)


FRIDAY: Hairy Harissa Chicken with Bulghar Wheat salad. I have a mixture of Quinoa and bulghar wheat, so I'll be using that. Otherwise I'll be following the recipe - with Angela's Carrot Pottage to start.
For lunches, I'm making a Hairy Egg and bacon quiche - a few tweaks again. The link takes you to a YouTube video, but ingredients/method is included. I'm leaving out the asparagus, but possibly adding courgette in its place. The trick is to use sheets of filo rather than shortcrust pastry, and again cornflour is used as a thickening agent for the custard, instead of cream. 

SATURDAY: Hairy Chilli - it's a basic chilli recipe, TBH, but with common sense about portions, cooking without extra oil, and not having too much rice with it. I'll maybe do rice  for Mr FD (or he can have a lump of baguette)because he will have probably been cycling - and any way he's much more active than I am - but I'll probably just have salad.


SUNDAY: For lunch, I'm hoping to make Hairy smoked mackerel pate - again common sensical smoked mackerel, low fat mayo, low fat yoghurt and seasoning mixed together -  to have with a bit of bread and salad. For dinner, it's Hairy cumin crusted vegetables with a small steak each. Again, soups will be provided.

If you have any interesting, low fat/low calorie soup recipes (preferably vegetable based) do please direct me to them. I usually do a "That'll do, Pig" soup, throwing in everything and anything without fear nor favour. But from time to time it's nice to have a soup that is planned to taste nice!

I hope your week has as many delicious sounding meals in as mine! And I hope my meals are as delicious as they are delicious sounding!!!

Weigh in tomorrow. I must remember that even losing 500g is the equivalent to losing TWO of these
Which is great. If I have managed to get down by 1 kg I would be truly delighted, but I think that is possibly being too hopeful. After all, the exercise has been severely curtailed.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Huzzah for Hairy Dieters!

I'm doing a bit of a Happy Dance at the moment... I've just got my Hairy Dieters book from Amazon




Flicking through it seems as though there are a lot of recipes that I will be happy to cook and Mr FD will be happy to eat. I've already made three of them, from the BBC website which you can find here and they were all great (although the leek lasagne one sounded a bit bizarre so I substituted aubergine instead - so I suppose it became a type of moussaka) and full of flavour and not too faffy to make. The only proviso is that it may be difficult to get some of the ingredients in France, but I'm sure I can improvise with most of them (or it may just be that I've never looked for the ingredients before (pizza base mix, for example) and they are there in full view of all and sundry!)

I have been doing okay, eating wise. I've not weighed myself yet - that will be on Monday - but I've not exceeded 1600 calories (according to My Fitness Pal) on any day. Although I must admit that some of my calorie calculations are a bit hit-and-miss, I think I tend to err on the pessimistic rather than the optimistic side! I'm not finding myself getting too peckish between meals either - or, I've saved some of my lunch for later, so I can eat it when I do feel peckish.


If any of my lovely readers are also on My Fitness Pal, please send me a message. I'm Dormouse85 on there. It's quite good to be cheering each other on.

I'll post my next week's food tomorrow, when I've been able to peruse my Hairy Dieters in more detail (ooh-er, missis!)

PS I knew I'd forget ! Just glancing back over last week's post, I realise I'm supposed to be marinading my venison joint in red wine! I must go and do that before I catch up with the Coronation Street omnibus.What devastating secret will Lloyd find out from his old flame Mandy (I'm guessing it'll be that she had his child.)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

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Hello everyone! And, while I have never personally welcomed Followers before (sorry. I suppose I should have done!) I do want to welcome Clare (No 35) who is a beautiful woman I met while I was working at the Manic Summer School. She helped keep me sane and she also takes some fabulous photographs too. Hello Clare! Also, folks, don't forget that I have another blog over at View from the Teapot where you can read about what exciting things have been happening this weekend.



Other than that, what plans do I have food-wise?

Sunday: We didn't have the kangaroo steaks as planned last Friday. Or on Saturday (more details why over on t'other blog) so those are planned for today, with roast baby new potatoes and sweet potato wedges. And coleslaw.

Monday: I have some 5% fat burgers in the freezer, so we'll have those with salad and potato wedges, I think. I will maybe make courgette fritters for a starter (I've been planning on making these for a week now! I will make them before I run out of Monster Courgette!) - if I cook them in a minimum of oil, they shouldn't be too fattening.


Tuesday: Salmon fish cakes, green salad, green bean salad and herby mayo. There's a lonely salmon steak in the freezer, so I'll use that with mashed potato to make the fish cakes. Starter will probably be butternut squash & chilli soup - they are starting to appear. Huzzah! They really are one of my favourite vegetables!

Wednesday: Busy working day for me (the only one!) with a new student. I won't get home until 6.30 so I'm going for a quick veggie curry (ready made sauce from the UK) and rice. I can use up the last of the Monster Courgette plus other random old vegetables from the fridge.

Thursday: We'll have the turkey and Mushroom ragout that I had actually planned for yesterday (Saturday) before Real Life got in the way! You've already had the recipe for that!

Friday: Aubergine and pasta gratin. With green salad. Probably other salads for a starter. It's an easy Slimming World recipe (though I won't be using Marmite to soften the onions. I'll be wicked and use a small amount of olive oil instead!)
Saturday: Cheesy vegetable Rice bake Another Slimming World staple. With all of these meals, we'll be starting with a plate of vegetable based salads - beetroot, vegetable macedoine, tabbouleh, celeriac rapée etc. I buy them in Lidl, and although they are dressed, I think the benefits of vegetables wins over the evils of dressings. They aren't heavily dressed, and I make my own vegetable macedoine with a tin of vegetables plus low fat mayo, so that's not too bad.

Sunday: On a whim (the same whim that saw me buying the kangaroo steaks) I bought a venison joint roast in Lidl. It was pricier than expected (it wasn't marked, so I took the risk. It wasn't until I looked at the receipt that I realised I'd spent 20€ on it.) So it has to do us several meals!! I'm thinking that, if I can get Sunday's roast dinner, Monday's venison with fruity mash (Slimming World again!) and maybe Tuesday's minced up venison burgers from it, that will have worked out at 6 meals for 20€ = 3,30€ a meal = not too bad after all.
(Yes, of course my roast venison dinner will look like this!)

Here's the recipe from "Scotland's Enchanting Country" website.

How to Cook Roast Venison (Traditional Recipe)

Ingredients

6lb / 3 kg haunch of venison (or maybe a venison roasting joint from Lidl!)
8oz / 250kg chopped bacon.
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

The Marinade

1 bottle of red wine (What?! A whole bottle? You must be joking!)
4 tbs olive oil
2 carrots finely chopped
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 crushed garlic gloves (optional)
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercorns
Fresh rosemary
Juniper berries

The Sauce
1 tbs butter
1 tbs plain flour
1 tbs rownaberry jelly (or possibly plum chutney as I can't imagine even France's finest Carrefour having Rownaberry - or even rowanberry - jelly!)
5 fl oz / 150 ml port.

Method

Marinade
  • Gently cook the shallots and carrots in the oil in a large pan (large enough to hold the venison).Mix in the rest of the ingredients.Put in the venison and leave to marinade for 2 days, turning the joint at least 3 times a day. (Like I'll remember to do that!)
The Meat
  • After 2 days, remove meat and dry on kitchen roll.
  • Put oil and butter into large oven-proof pan with a lid (large enough to hold the meat)
  • Gently brown the bacon.
  • Add meat and brown on all sides.
  • Meanwhile, in another pot, boil the marinade rapidly until it is reduced.
  • Put through a strainer and pour over meat.
  • Put lid on pan and cook in the oven 170 C / 375 F for around 30 minutes per lb (500g).
  • If you're going to make a sauce, then cover the meat in kitchen foil to keep it warm.

Rowanberry and Port Sauce (I'm not sure this would count as a Slimming World recipe to be honest!)

  • Strain all the juices into a pot, bring to the boil.
  • Melt the butter, mix in the flour.
  • Whisk the butter and flour mix with the liquid, ensuring no lumps.
  • Simmer until sauce is reduced and thickens.
  • Whisk in the rowanberry jelly and port.
  • Season if necessary with salt and pepper.

Either pour the Sauce over the carved meat or serve separately in a gravy boat.


And just before I go, I thought I might put in a link to this site - The Resourceful Cook -  
It seems to me that if you are struggling for budget meal ideas this might be a good place to start.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Looking back...and looking forward

I couldn't think of a snappy title. So you've got a really boring one instead!

We've been eating well, but, I think, a little healthier this week. After last weekend, I think we needed to!! I've been reducing portion sizes, which has sent Mr FD scurrying to the breadboard a bit more than usual, but I think we are both trying to be more sensible. I'm trying to increase my fruit consumption too - I know there are sugars (and therefore calories) in fruit but at least they are natural sugars! And include other good things like vitamins.

So, on Tuesday we had the Hairy Bikers' Chilli Salad bowls which we didn't have last Friday. They were really good! I'd made a veggie soup too, so we had that beforehand, and extra salad with the chilli bowls.  I didn't have a pudding after that.

On Wednesday I made shish kebabs with a tomato, cucumber, green pepper salad. We had them with two tortilla wraps and a yoghurt/mint dressing. I think we had a salad-y starter too, and I had a slice of courgette cake for dessert. I'd also had salad and a cheese roll at lunch.


On Thursday, we were due to have lime & lemon dressed courgette as a starter, but I had suffered mightily that day with sciatica, so I couldn't be arsed: I just threw some prepared salads on a plate. (It still hasn't calmed down, which is a worry as I'm due to go back to Lyon the day after tomorrow. I don't know how far I'll be able to walk...I still can't make it the 20 m to the boulangerie without having to stop and silently scream from the pain!!!) We had a portion of Hairy lasagne from last week with some sautéed leeks and green beans. I had a tuna-and-sweetcorn roll, cherry tomatoes, a tin of fruit, a 0% fromage frais + apple purée, a 105 cal minicake and a banana for lunch. Lots of fruit there!

On Friday we had chicken (one breast between two), in a pepper and chilli sauce. A really easy sauce - a jar of roast peppers (in brine not oil), zuzzed with some garlic, chilli and tomato purée, added to a sweated onion and some mushrooms. I served it with some roasted new potatoes (rolled around in a dessertspoon of olive oil and a tsp of sea salt before cooking) and green beans. We started with some soup again, and I think I had a nectarine for dessert.

Yesterday we went out. We were due to go to the Sapeurs Pompiers (Fire fighters) barbecue but my sciatica made me wary about going where there mightn't be sufficient chairs and I might need to stand up. No way, José! Also parking down at the Caserne is limited and I couldn't have walked, so we were already considering crying off. Then Gilles and Sylvie came round and suggested going next door for a pizza - well, I felt I could walk there and back, without too much trouble. So that's what we did. The bases are very thin and crispy, so I felt my Vegetarian (with chorizo) pizza didn't go too over the top (though the two glasses of wine mightn't have helped!) I had carpaccio of pineapple (more fruit!) to finish!

We're out for lunch today with friends, so I shall eat what I'm given (with much delight, I'm sure!). And I'm making curried courgette soup for supper - Michel across the road gave us 4 monster courgettes. I gave two away, but I'm still using the other two. I've got the other chicken breast (cooked) in the fridge so I'll make a sandwich filler from that for today and tomorrow's lunch.

On Monday we'll have salmon baked in lemon juice, (no recipe needed, really. Just salmon and lemon juice. Baked in foil) baked new potatoes and oven ratatouille...this will use up the huge number of bits of vegetables I've got lying round in the fridge. I'll probably use the left over red pepper sauce from Friday as a base for the rataouille. As a starter we'll probably have soup from today.

On Tuesday I should be in Lyon, so I may be home late. Thus I want something easy - so we are going to have duck breast in a honey, soy and ginger sauce. This isn't quite the recipe, but almost. I'm going to use carpaccio of duck breast that is in the freezer (brought home, just past its sellby date by Mr F-D from Shopi) and just warm it briefly in the sauce. I'm serving it with noodles (found in Lidl for 40 cents a packet. Woohoo. I bought the only remaining two packets!) and sautéed leeks. Possibly courgettes too. I may not do a starter, as time may be pressing. Or we may have a coleslaw/lettuce/tomato combo to begin. I have half a cabbage to use.
On Wednesday I begin teaching in Roanne again. Huzzah! (that's Huzzah, because, if you read View from the Teapot as well, you'll know my work hours at Clermont have been cut drastically. I need all the teaching hours I can get)  I'll be getting home about 6 o'clock - not very late, but a bit later than I'm used to. Anyway, I'm thinking a simple dhal and rice will be good (making sure the rice portion is smaller than the dhal portion!) I made some curried plum pickle which might go nicely with it (but check the portion!!!) As a starter, I think I'll do a tomato and onion salad plus a spinach leaf salad too.
Dhal:
1 mug red split lentils - to 3 mugs water with a pinch or two of salt and a half teaspoon of turmeric - cook until soft (most of the water should be absorbed, if it looks like its too runny drain some out - or too dry, add some more water) leave to one side.

Slice an onion fry until soft and add one fat green chilli, a clove of garlic and grate a chunk (about a thumb size) piece of ginger as you add x 2 tins of chopped tomotoes plus a half can of water. Now warm though adding a teaspoon of medium curry powder and a teaspoon of garam masala - taste the sauce, add more curry powder, garlic if you want more - when happy with the taste add the lentils and mix thoroughly. If you wish, you can add some frozen spinach to make the veggie content bigger.


 
On Thursday, I plan to try to do the lemon/lime courgettes not done last week, as a starter. Then we'll have pasta arrabiata. This is a Slimming World follower's recipe - but I will choose not to use the wine in the sauce, simply because that means I'll be left with an open bottle of wine that requires drinking!

Friday, we'll have a mix of salads as a starter ( salad leaves, cucumber, coleslaw, tabbouleh and vegetable macedoine - yes, some dressing involved, but not too much.) and then kangaroo steaks, which I impulse bought at Lidl last week, with SW chips and coleslaw. I don't think I've ever had kangaroo - ostrich, yes, which I think I enjoyed (I can't remember) but not kangaroo. Has anyone eaten it? What should I expect?

And on Saturday, I'm going to make courgette fritters to start, with a yoghurt and chive sauce. I think I'll probably make up the recipe, but remember to drain-and-squeeze the grated courgette before use! And afterwards, we'll have a turkey and mushroom ragout

Turkey and Mushroom Ragout (serves 4)

500g turkey fillets
1 garlic clove
6 spring onions, chopped
200g sliced mushrooms
150ml chicken stock
4 tbsp red fat creme fraiche
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp cornflour mixed with & tbsp water

1. Cut the turkey into strips. Cook in frylight (or a sall amount of oil) until golden.
2. Add onuion, mushrooms, garlic to pan. Season and cook for 2-3 minutes
3. Add stock. bring to boil and then simmer. add creme fraiche and mustard. Then cornflour. Simmer for 4-5 minutes
4. Serve with... I'm using rice.

I'll probably serve this with peasncrots and maybe green beans too.

For lunch we'll have had sweet potato soup...I have a lovely recipe for this. I'll try to find it for you.

Anyway! Off for lunch with Charles and Angela now! Ta-ra, chuck!




Friday, 7 September 2012

Joining In

Thanks to Vicki over at 2 Bags Full I'm joining in with this event :





A "Grow-Your-Blog" event - a kind of blog hop, for those of us with only a few followers...Now, I'm not unhappy with my lovely 34 followers - thank you (and I will draw my Giveaway soon) - but it's lovely to have lots of comments and feel that people are engaging with your blog.

When I have the time to visit other people's blogs, I do try to leave a comment (however banal!) just to show that there is somebody interested - and I am! I love reading people's views on the world, the little personal stories, their experiences of God, their photographs. I have laughed, wept, pondered and perused with people from all over the world. I have been lucky enough to win giveaways - a delicious smelling soy candle, some beautiful beads - to be able to share gifts (thank you Pauleen for my lovely Australian goodies!) and give people some of my crafts. I have discovered new music (Oh, Mags, how I love Rend Collective Experiment. Thank you SO much for posting about them!) and rediscovered old. I've had the encouragement to think about my faith, through Floss's "Pause in Lent/Advent..." and to think about how I am part of an amazing electronic community. It was through a new friend at Thistle Cove Farm (found via PomPom) that I read about this event, so thank you to Pompom and to Sandra for the links.

So I'm going to join in with Vicki, and lots of other people in January to take part in this - both here and over at the View from the Teapot. Maybe you'd like to join in too!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A weekend full of food!

We've been away for the weekend to a lovely place and we had a great time. I'm going to write more about it over at View From the Teapot (I'll link to it when I've written it)(beladedly here's the link to Part 1. You can Find Part 2 on your own by clicking on newer post at the bottom) but I thought I'd tell you about the food - because, after all, this is my Foodie type blog.

We ate so well (possibly too well, but never mind!) and came back feeling we'd put on pounds - altho Mr F-D did at least do a longish bike ride. I did very little in the way of exercise (comme d'habitude!) We left here on Friday and drove over to a hotel on the banks of the Rhone, called La Source. It was chic, modern and comfortable - and the restaurant was wonderful!


 I didn't take photos of my plates (I'm always too embarrassed to do that!) and I forgot to write the delicious descriptions from the menu, but I started with a glass of peach kir, and then we were served a cold tomato soup in an expresso cup, as an amuse-bouche. Then I had a carpaccio of duck breast, with an endive salad and a citrus dressing. It was huge - I passed pieces over to Mr F-D (who was less keen to share his foie-gras!) - but utterly delicious. Then we both had quails' breasts, served with a pear, poached in red wine, potatoes and girolle mushrooms. Cheese followed (we did a swap though - Mr F-D had my blue cheese, and I had his goats' cheese! It's always an equitable swap on the cheese front.) Finally, we both chose the pannacotta-style cheesecake (or cheesecake style pannacotta?) served with pannacotta icecream and a gorgeous red fruit sauce.

Then, on Saturday, we headed over towards Chambery (not Chamonix, as I said in my last post). The weather wasn't great, but we decided to go for a walk along the prom at Aix-les-Bains. By the time we got back to the car, it was getting grey, misty and quite chilly. We wandered around Chambery town for a while and had lunch. I'd planned on a crepe, which was quite light after the enormous dinner the night before, but the restaurant only did crepes in the evening. So how come I chose a hamburger Savoyard (with cheese), and a huge helping of fries, instead of a salad?! Who knows...

The Chambres d'Hotes where we were staying for two nights was utterly charming.

  For more photos of the place, go over to the View from the Teapot, but here is a link to their website. We were staying in the Rose des Sables suite - a bit pricier than the other rooms, but it was the only room available when I booked. It was beautifully decorated, like the hotel, but with more character. It was homelier (as a Chambre d'Hotes shoild be!) And again, the food was fabulous. Fred, the chef, used to work in a restaurant in the Alps, and so the food was of a really high standard. We ate, sitting around the large table, all the guests together.
and spoke a melange of French and English. Again, I didn't take photos of the food - I should have done, as it was beautifully presented, with edible flowers and herbs - but the little blackboard (to the left in the background) had the Menu du Jour written on it, so I copied that.

The first evening we started with an apero, of kir with home made sirop; I think I had raspberry. Then we ate Feuilleté d'asperges et champignons (puff pastry with asparagus and mushrooms) followed by Filet Mignon au miel et xérés, pommes roties, et purée de courgetes (pork in a honey and sherry sauce, roast potatoes and courgette purée) It was delicious. Really. This was all served with home made bread, and as much wine as you wanted too. The cheeseboard then came round, laden with regional cheeses to try - on Fred's recommendation I did try a local blue cheese. It wasn't very strong, but it still tasted "blue": I won't be having it again. Finally we had a bowl of tiramisu - this isn't something I particularly like, so I didn't finish mine, but everybody else was scraping their bowls! Coffee or an infusion was offered, and then we sat around until almost 11, chatting and relaxing.

The following day, I had a massage while Mr F-D went cycling, and then we went to Annecy for the afternoon (as did the rest of the world!) We learned a lesson the day before, and so we only had a sandwich for lunch (and a macademia nut and white chocolate chip cookie!) manfully resisting the temptation of a 4 star ice cream parlour!! We went on the lake for a boat ride, which was great fun.



Returning back to the Chambres d'Hotes in time for our apero (plain white wine for me tonight) we sat down to another fantastic meal:

We started with Tartiflette revisité .Tartiflette is a traditional Savoyard meal, consisting of potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions and ham, and is a real rib-sticking winter dish. Most commonly it looks like this:


and you can see that it isn't a light dish, hardly suitable for a starter. However, the "revisité" part of the title is important: perhaps it might be translated as "deconstructed" in posh restaurants, but basically what it means is we had a dish with a couple of lightly boiled potatoes in a gorgeous cheese sauce, decorated with a couple of crispy strips of fried ham and a couple of red onion rings. You can see it down at the bottom of  this page from the website.

Then we had Un piece de boeuf, beurre maitre d'hotel, polenta et champignons. The beef was cooked to order, and served with a chilled butter, made with lemon juice, shallots, parsley and chives. Oh when it melted over the piece of beef it was so delicious!!! The polenta was good - not something I often cook, so it was nice to have something different. This was followed by cheese, and then by Creme Brulée à la menthe - crème Brulée with a lovely spearminty taste to it. You can imagine how well-fed we felt!!

The breakfasts were also really good - croissants, pain au chocolat, cereal, fruit juice, home-made jams, pain perdue (eggy bread, or French toast), and more home made bread. 

On Monday we had an appointment in Lyon, but that wasn't going to stop us stuffing our faces! We went to the Paul Bocuse Brasserie L'Ouest
Paul Bocuse is a famous chef in France, and he has 6 of these cheaper brasseries scattered througout Lyon, serving great food at a reasonable price. We usually go to Le Sud, because we know it does some  vegetarian options, and we quite often have veggie friends with us, but L'Ouest was more convenient for the Clinique where I was getting my inner soles made. I had the starter and main, Mr F-D had the main and dessert. I had Rillettes de Thon au tapenade ( a type of  coarse tuna paté served with black olive tapenade on crusty country bread toast), and then we both had the Quasi de Veau - I don't know what "quasi" is, but it was a thick slice of rose veal, with a macaroni gratin and green beans. Then Mr F-D had a trio of fruit sorbets to finish, while I had a coffee.

Since we've come home, we're back to ordinary food!! (boiled eggs for tea, and a sausage-and-coleslaw combofor lunch!) I'm going to order the Hairy Bikers Diet from Amazon today, so that we can, after this weekend's Gourmand Blowout, try to shed a few pounds! I think I'll be back on My Fitness Pal too. Sigh.

I do have to say, if anyone is considering a trip to the South Eastish corner of France, to consider La Bageatiere...and don't forget to book the Tables d'Hotes...You certainly don't need to go to a restaurant to get great food if you're staying here!
This is a view of the garden from our lovely suite. What a shame the weather didn't allow for relaxing and sipping cold drinks while swinging under the tree with a good book.