Sunday, 26 May 2013

Looking Back - and looking forward

Hello Friends - did you miss me?!

We had a wonderful break in the South of France, and Mr FD did indeed cycle up Mont Ventoux! He only did it once though, as the weather wasn't really on our side, so the planned three-pronged ascent didn't happen. Still, he did the ascent from the hardest side (apparently) and was beaming - and sweating (despite the snow!) at the top. Until I know how to import my photos (Mr FD thinks it's something to do with the size of them) you will have to go over to The Temporary View for photos of our exploits.

There are also detailed lists of what food was consumed - an awful lot of it! Which meant that we were back fasting on Friday. It was lovely to have comments about how noticeable it was that I'd lost weight. Though after the amount of food I put away in four days I should think most of it has gone back on!! Desserts featured a lot of these:
in various guises. But also, usually, with Chantilly cream!

This week we are also likely to be consuming a little more food than is good for us, as we've got friends arriving on Wednesday. They're only here for a few days and so we have to get as many delicious meals in as possible!! I'm working on Thursday and Friday mornings, so we'll have to make the most of the afternoonsand evenings!

Anyway, back into the regular format, this is what we will be eating:
SUNDAY (today) : I'm going to make a paste of pesto and cream cheese, and put it under the skin of a chicken breast, wrap it in pancetta and cook. Served with hassleback potatoes, carrots and ratatouille (made with slightly ancient vegetables!)

MONDAY: Fast day. One Pot Southern Style Rice. As this is only 232 calories a portion, I'll probably throw in 20g per person of chorizo adding a further 80 calories each.

TUESDAY: I cooked far too much sausage-and-pasta yesterday, so we'll have that as a pasta bake today. Mr FD will be in charge of putting in the oven as I'm out teaching and shopping.

WEDNESDAY: Our friends will be arriving today. While I thought we might go out, I've decided I'll put something in the slow cooker so they can relax this evening after their travels. I think I'll make something like this beef casserole with a Potato Dauphinoise. I can prepare both of these before I go to Roanne to teach and then it's just an hour or so for the Dauphinoise in the oven. Mr FD can be charged with buying dessert.

THURSDAY: Eat out.

FRIDAY: Eat out.

SATURDAY: Veg curry from the freezer, naan bread and mango chutney.

SUNDAY: Beef cobbler (I have mince in the freezer, so I shall use that up.) I usually like to do something a bit more "special" on Sunday, but I think that this will be fine. It's usually very tasty, so I don't think I need worry too much!

This afternoon I'm going to empty my big pantry cupboard and clean it and organise it a bit better. My, that should be fun!

As the post over at The Temporary View is so long, I think I'll stop now. Ta-ra!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Faffing about and Food

First the faffing:
I've been faffing about creating a new (temporary, I hope) blog - the Wibsite has a problem, so I have created a blog for the interim: A Temporary View I hope you will pop over there from time to time to see what's going on.
I would have just stuck with this blog, but (STILL. Sigh) Blogger is refusing to upload my photos. So I couldn't show off my Less is More challenge creations. Thus: A Temporary View was created.

Now the Food.
The plans made for last week changed a little, when we were invited out for dinner on Friday night, by Richard, who also presented me with a cauliflower and some cheese. He's going back to the UK for a bit, so these were the last bits lingering in his fridge. We're always happy to help!

So, on Friday we went next door to the Hotel de Londres
(It isn't really built on a slope - that's just the "artistry" of the photographer!) I had foie gras to start, magret de canard in a pepper sauce and the dessert which I adore "Mendiant". Now, this is what is normally referred to as a mendiant:a disc of chocolate with dried fruit atop:

But the dessert consists of dried fruit and nuts in a warm toffee sauce, served with ice cream and a tuile biscuit. It is delicious, but it certainly isn't worth the 8€ charged  A la Carte, so I only have it when I'm on a "menu". Which I was. And it was yummy!

Because I had the cauliflower and cheese, I made cauliflower-lardon-and-chorizo-cheese for supper last night, served with a jacket potato. As the cauli was so large, I made two and one is now in the freezer for another day. The planned pasta bake only used store cupboard ingredients so they can sit happily for another day.

Next week is looking a little like this:
MONDAY: Porridge for breakfast and Mexican bean burger for supper. We'll have these with salad and possibly a bit of rice. As next week is Mr FD's epic ride(s) up Mont Ventoux, he's semi-fasting only, in order to give him enough energy to continue his training rides.

We won't be having the buns, but we will have the salsa & the salad.

TUESDAY: A type of potato/pepper/chorizo (must buy some more!)/courgette bake. Possibly with a couple of eggs. As I have two aubergines, there may well be some aubergine in there too.

WEDNESDAY: As I appear to have three containers of vegetable curry in the freezer, we'll have one of these, with naan breads.
This may change however, if a Film night at Cathy's takes place. Who knows...

THURSDAY: Fast day today, to give us the opportunity for pasta the-day-before tomorrow (does that make sense?) The recipe for Aubergine Parmeggiano over at I'm Counting UFOs seems to fit the bill - especially for using up aubergines! I may have to cook them on Wednesday evening and just heat them up on Thursday as I'm out until 7.00 and they take 45 minutes to cook.

FRIDAY: There's mince in the freezer and pasta in the fridge. Something with those ingredients that uses up anything else that's malingering in the fridge...
...because tomorrow we're off down South to Bédoin to this Chambres d'Hotes:

We're meeting Louis and Odette, Gilles and Sylvie for a few days. The boys are off cycling. The girls will do other things - walking, shopping, relaxing, who knows...but I'm sure it will be lovely! I hope the weather is warm enough to try out the pool - but I fear it won't be.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Food for Thought

Here is an interesting set of pictures, showing the average weekly consumption of food by families around the world...

Look here

Here is the British family's food consumption.

                                               & the family from Mali

I think it is indeed food for thought...

Monday, 6 May 2013

What a happy, happy Fat Dormouse am I?!

I have been contacted by lovely Vicki over at 2 Bags Full to say I have won her Giveaway.

Not only is she an amazing person, who creates beautiful "shabby chic nests", and organises Grow Your Blog events, but she also has an ongoing project collecting  pink scarves, created and gifted by bloggers throughout the world, for survivors and sufferers of breast cancer. She is generous too - I have won one of these beautiful bags:
 Photo by Vicki Boster at 2Bags Full.

Aren't they stunning?! They are the work of Vera Bradley and I would never have imagined that I would have been so lucky as to win one.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, dear Vicki!

I am definitely going to make a scarf to send to her project, as part of my Thank You - I have made one already, but when I knitted up the wool, it was much more orange than the "hot pink" I had imagined. I will have to buy some other definitely pink wool to knit another.

I've been so lucky recently. Not only have I won the bag, but I received my beautiful earrings from Rachel 
Still can't upload the photos. Sigh. However, I uploaded them onto The Teapot, so you can go and admire them over there .

AND I won a magazine about ATC making
from Elizabeth at The Silver Scrapper. She makes beautiful cards. And gives away lovely things!

I can see I'm going to have to think about having a Grateful Giveaway soon myself, in return for these delicious things that I have been so lucky to win.

Please go and visit the blogs of these generous and lovely ladies.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

LolCats, Food & Musings...Comme d'habitude!

Today is the St Just horse fair - you can read about it over at the Teapot - but I'm here at my desk to update you all on my food planned for this week.

The weight loss hasn't been going too well, although I have noticed a definite shrinkage in the tummy area. So I am losing inches, if not grams.  I've been doing 5:2 since the second week of February and I've lost about 2.5 kg. Which isn't too bad, but nothing like as much as I'd hoped. However, I do need to recognise that (and I'm not really blaming her here, but she does seem to be a catalyst for our social life!) since Cathy came over, I've drunk more than I usually do, and eaten rather too many nibbles and crisps too! It's great to see her, but I need to try to be a bit more restrained!!

 On the 5:2 forums lots of people have recorded bigger weight losses, but others are having similar results to mine. It's been interesting to read how others deal with their frustrations and their advice. The way of eating has been advertised as "Fast for 2 days; eat what you like for 5" - it isn't quite that, as I think I'm finding out. It was recommended I worked out my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and tried to eat within that for at least 3 of the feed days. As mine has come out at a very healthy (not sure that's the right word!) 1950 calories a day, that really shouldn't be a problem. I just need to be a lttle more circumspect on the biscuit consumption (which has been slowly creeping up!), stick to one Lindor ball in the evening (we have loads of the yummy little devils!) and save the alcohol for the weekends & meals out.

Anyhow, what delicious food is planned this week?

To note: we didn't have freezer casserole on Thursday last, as I forgot to take it out of the freezer (D'oh!) so we had my go-to fast meal of lardons, mushrooms, pesto and fresh pasta. Ten minutes and it's ready! Otherwise, I think the plan was followed to the letter - the red pepper & chorizo stew was finally cooked and was delicious (esp with garlic bread!)

I forgot to put CuppaSoups on the shopping list, so I made a low calorie soup yesterday for lunch. It looked like algae-filled pond water but was actually quite tasty - and only 40 calories a big bowlfull. Basically I cooked a courgette, a carrot, 2 sticks of celery, an onion and a leftover barquette of lamb's lettuce in vegetable stock, seasoned with pepper, herbs and dried chilli flakes. Zuzzed up, it looked gross but tasted fine.

MONDAY: (fast day) I'm not at work today, so I won't have porridgey breakfast. I'll just go with drinks and soup (maybe I'll make another pot of Pond Weed Soup!) until supper, which will be Spinach and Feta pie. I'm using fewer sheets of filo (I have three) and marscapone instead of ricotta (it's what I've got in the fridge to use. It's MUCH higher in calories but I'm using nowhere near as much as the recipe says, making up the difference in spinach, or possibly chopped mushrooms) As the given recipe is only 189 calories a portion, and we'll have about 400 to play with, I think that it shouldn't be a problem...

TUESDAY: I bought some meatballs at Lidl. We're having these with tomato and courgette sauce and fresh pasta.

WEDNESDAY: Aubergine and ham gratin. The recipe doesn't include ham, but I'm going to throw some cubes of ham into the mix. We'll hacve it with salad - which should give a good quantity of our 5-a-day (which I'm not always very good at consuming!)

THURSDAY: Hairy Dieter's Cumin crusted veggies + a grilled pork chop.

FRIDAY: Asian chicken wraps, using Chinese leaf for the wrap. I've done something similar before with fajita type filling which worked really well. Let's try a slightly more Asian feel with this recipe fromthe site "London Unattached"

SATURDAY: I'll make a heavy-on-the-veggies pasta bake - I've got a tin of artichoke hearts, plus whatever is lurking in the fridge, mixed with a tin of tomatoes, cooked pasta and covered with cheese. Yummy.

SUNDAY: Let's try pulling a casserole from the freezer. And having it with mash and veggies.

Thank you to everyone who comments on the blog - it's always nice to see what people have to say, and I do try to reply, even if my response is a bit banal sometimes!!

PomPom - I'm glad you liked"The Cats" It really tickled my fancy!

Sara Louise: I hope you enjoyed the Chorizo dish as much as we did. I threw in some spinach too, which added a bit more greenery to the diet and bulked it out a bit more. I think that is a "keeper" as a recipe.

Jane & Chris: Don't tell anyone, but - while I'm glad that the Morris side is still dancing out - I do have a sneaking suspicion that often it is much more fun for the dancers than the spectators!!! I'm thinking about joining a Line dancing (known as "country dancing") group here in France, but I keep putting off phoning the contact! Maybe I'll wait until September!

Christina: I didn't end up crafting much - I wasn't "in the zone" - but I did tidy my crafting shelves znd tinker about a bit. I finally got round to a wedding card that I was commissioned to do. It's not finished yet, so I'm not showing it off, but the person I'm making it for is pleased with the design so far!
I also made a card for lovely Rachel who sent me my earrings, which I still can't show you as Blogger is still being snippy about uploading photos. But rest assured, they are lovely and I'm wearing them again today

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Not ranting on May Day!

It's the first of May, and it's a bank holiday in France. I have no lessons, it's a miserable day and I'm going to spend the day crafting, I think...

Mr FD suggested I should Morris dance around the village - I've forgotten every Morris step I used to know, except one, called "ranting". Here is a link to a video of Northumbrian rant step - 
Blogger doesn't want me to upload it, but you can go and watch it if you're interested. It's quite an easy step, but it gets exhausting very quickly!
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but I used to be a Morris dancer.
This is a photo of my old team, Old Mother Redcaps from Stony Stratford. This is more recent than my sojourn with them, but it's good to know that the group is still going. I had to give up because the dancing wasn't very good for my back unfortunately.I really enjoyed it, although I wasn't that good at it.
My sister also dances with a Morris team up in Leicester, called Black Annis, pictured above. Big Sis is 5th from the left. 

Her side is named after a witch, and although the site says a Mother Recap was the name for an alehouse keeper, I thought it was actually the name for a brothel "Madame"...I rather liked the idea that both our teams were named for women of rather-less-than-good repute! I always thought her side were more raucous than mine - we wore pretty frocks, bells on our shoes and carried bowers of flowers; hers wear Suffragette colours, trousers, big sticks - and beards (!)

Anyway, with the rain that's pouring, I'm not doing any dancing, ranting or anything else around the village! I'm staying firmly indoors with Thea Gilmore playing on the computer and a hot water bottle at my back!

I also wanted to say a huge Thank You to Rachel of Blue Finch Jewellery who, after Vicki's "Grow Your Blog" event generously (and slightly madly!) offered to send everyone who commented on her blog a pair of handmade earrings. Mine arrived on Monday, beautifully presented in a silver gift box. What a treat! I'm wearing them now, but will take them out to take a photo. Which I have duly taken, but which Blogger is being snippy about. People have complained about Blogger not uploading photos, but I've never had problems - until now! Sigh. I will show off my earrings another time.