Saturday, 31 August 2013

Imagination has Deserted me!

I can't think of a title!

(If you're here to see my crafting, you need to hop over to my other blog View from the Teapot - but while you're here, you could see if there's anything here that grabs your fancy!)

This week has been a bit uppy-downy on food issues. As I said yesterday Mr FD was finding the fasting-before-cycling a bit tricky, and I've been having attacks of the munchies. Everything I've read says that one should be able to exercise normally on a fasting day, but I'm not sure that expending huge amounts of energy over three hoursis "exercising normally", so Mr FD is experimenting to find what he can eat best on fasting days.

Me, I'm trying to cut down on bread and stuff, but when I go to Cathy's and she offers me elderflower kir and pistachio nuts, my good intentions crumble! Still, I only had one! (Kir, that is. I had a lot more than one pistachio nut!) AND we went for a long (but slow) walk beforehand - I'm off the strong painkillers, but still taking an iboprofen/paracetemol mix. The back is no longer painful, but just stiff and uncomfortable, so I don't need the strong stuff!

Our meals in the next week are:
SUNDAY: Leek-and-tomato samosas and cucumber salad (A friend gave me two enormous cucumbers to use!)
Italian stuffed chicken, green vegetables, carrots and rosti.

MONDAY We're back to Monday as a Fast Day, so nothing much until dinner:
Squash with red bean sauce (I think the blogger who posted this recipe made a mistake in the quantities - it's 2lb of squash, not 2 ounces!) I may not have enough squash so I may be substituting sweet potato. It's 247 calories a portion, so I think I will throw in the remaining 100g of feta that's lying in the fridge, giving another 130 calories each.

TUESDAY: Celebratory colours for Mr FD's birthday. We're going up to Cathy's for a film night and I believe she is cooking a curry. I'm taking up the starter - onion bhajis and veggie samosas. Plus (of course!) the birthday cake. It will probably be chocolate-and-banana. 

WEDNESDAY: Soup and sandwich combo for lunch - probably "Fridge soup" using up whatever is in there (a lot of carrots, I think. I over-bought on carrots!)
Chickpea and coriander burgers, with salad and potato wedges for dinner. The recipe is from the magazine-let "Healthy Food Guide" and looks very delicious. I'll post the receipe another time.

THURSDAY: Another Fast Day, so we're having not very much until dinner:
Baked field mushrooms + watercress salad to start (42 calories) and then Lime and ginger prawn coleslaw (143 calories) I may add a bit of rice to the coleslaw salad, as it's only 280 calories the entire meal. Or maybe half a jacket potato would be nice. I will think about it.

FRIDAY: Using the rest of the chickpea burger mix, we'll have little chickpea balls in a wrap with salad. And maybe some slices of halloumi cheese too.
Moussaka for dinner. 

SATURDAY: Mushroom omelette for lunch and Turkey ragout for dinner. This with rice and veggies. 
I'll post one or two of the recipes through the week.  

Thank you for your comments. We have finally got the dishwasher sorted - Dear Mr FD spent forever trawling t'internet, and he has ordered a Bosch (there you are, PomPom!) which is pricier than I imagined, but which (we hope!) will go on and on...
And Fishcake Random, if you've not made the banana muffins yet, I recommend them. They were very yummy - and with a few choc chips in, they would be even better! I ran out of cake cases and made a very thin loaf with half the mixture, but it still tasted good!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Fast Day Thorts...

Fasting on the wrong day caused Mr FD quite some problems this week: he wanted to change days from Monday to Tuesday - which was okay by me - but that meant that the day before his Bi-Weekly Cycle Ride on Wednesday he hadn't really imbibed enough calories, so he had to abandon half way through.

So we're thinking Fast Days should be Monday and Thursday, as he cycles on Wednesday and Saturday, and he is a big enough boy to decide for himself how much he is going to eat on those days. On my fast days I've been having a small breakfast (10g porridge oats + water + 1/2 tsp Stevia sugar substitute) and a small lunch (1 1/2 ladles of home made veggie soup) as well as dinner, because I'm taking painkillers for my back which need to be taken with food. Possibly I've been a little over 500 calories - I've estimated more like 650 - but it's still less than I'd normally consume.

Yesterday afternoon was spent trailing round Roanne trying to find a new dishwasher that met all criteria. We failed. So we're back to another week of hand washing-up, while Mr FD tries to find one on-line. Our old dishwasher has done 17 years stirling service, but just gave up the ghost a fortnight ago. We've not been able to find out why, so we think a new one is in order. Because we got back late, the planned "recipe" was abandoned in favour of a more rapid salmon-and-veggie stir-fry, but at the last minute I crumbled and threw in a packet of Schetschwan (spelling?) flavoured noodles as well. They made it very tasty, but I'm sure upped the calorie level a little too much! Interestingly, having had some carbs in the meal I felt less hungry than I usually do on a fast day during the evening. I wonder if that is normal. Does anyone know? Maybe I'll ask on the 5:2 Forum...

PS You might want to read about our fun evening at a friends Fancy Dress party last weekend. You can find an account over here...The Names's Catwoman...Dormouse Catwoman

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

National Burger Day

...apparently today is National Burger Day.

Well, we had our burgers yesterday. It should have been a fasting day, but Mr FD wanted to fast today, so I swapped our meals around, and then discovered that I couldn't find the salmon that I thought we had in the freezer! So no Salmon Tray Bake, but instead we had burgers (found in the freezer) with lots of vegetables.

I made a guacomole from a tomato, half an onion, an avocado, mashed with some oil and lemon juice, plus some chopped chilli. I served this on top of the burgers (on which I'd already melted a slice of cheese)
We also had a salad made from strips of courgette and crumbled feta cheese in oil and lemon juice. We also had a pile of green salad, a tablespoon of coleslaw, and lots of cucumber, PLUS half a tomato each - the first one from our two tomato plants on the balcony. I cooked some potato wedges too, and we had a feast!

Because I'd not had any fruit or veg all day (porridge for breakfast, scrambled egg on toast for lunch) I also had a peach and an apple for dessert. I think I might have just squeezed in my five-a-day!

But here is one dessert I really wouldn't like to try:

Burger flavoured ice cream!
The ice cream consists of minced chargrilled beef mixed into the ice cream base to add flavour before its sieved out. Created by ice cream specialists Sorbitium Ices, the Burger Ice Cream is only available for one day only on the UK’s first National Burger Day on 27 August.

Frankly, I think it sounds absolutely disgusting!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Recipes: Chocolate Banana Cake

Hello, everyone!

I have a couple of bananas going brown and leopard skinny in the fruit bowl, so I may have to make Mr FD's favourite cake to use them up. It's not exactly diet food, but he does like it!
The bananas should be at least Stage 7 - but possibly even browner! Bananas like this always used to make my dad cough when he smelt them...we never knew why, but I guess they must give off some irritating gas when extra ripe.

 Here is the recipe:

225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
40g cocoa/ drinking chocolate
4 tbsp milk
150g caster sugar
100g soft margarine
2 soft, brown bananas

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/GM4

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and cocoa into a bowl.
2. Mix the sugar, margarine, bananas and milk in a food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds (I use my hand held blender. It works fine)
3. Pour this mixture onto the dry ingredients. Mix well.
4. Put into a greased cake tin (about 18cm/7")
5. Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Add topping if you wish (I melt chocolate with a splash of milk & use that). This cake is best a day after baking.

If this is not diet food-y enough, maybe I should try making low fat muffins instead. We haven't got any snack-y things in the house at the moment, and little banana buns mightn't be a bad idea.
These look possible:


Serves : 12 

  • 125g (4.5 oz) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225g (8 oz) mashed ripe banana
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 60g (2 oz) half fat creme fraiche
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Prep:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:30min 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Grease muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together banana, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in creme fraiche. Stir banana mixture into flour until just combined. Scoop into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted into centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool before serving. For best flavour, place in an airtight container or plastic bag overnight.
Mr FD has just informed me that he ate the bananas for breakfast! Oh well! 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Recipe: Veal Stew

This is what I'm cooking tonight - it's from Good Housekeeping's Mediterranean diet recipe pull-out. As the cook's notes say "Veal is no longer considered cruel if you buy higher welfare British rose veal. Use a cut suitable for stewing such as shin or shoulder..." To be honest, I'm not sure if the veal I have bought is higher welfare: buying it in a supermarket I fear it might not be... If I'm buying less meat, perhaps I should buy it in the local butcher's now: maybe a little more expensive, but certainly Le Panier d'Urfé gets their meat from only one or two local farmers.

  • 650g veal shoulder or shin, diced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 800 ml hot beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 12(g orzo pasta
  • large handful black olives (pitted)
  • large handful chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan 140°)/ GM3. Put meat in a bowl and stir through the flour. In a large ovenproof casserole dish - with a tight fitting lid -  heat half the oil over a medium high heat. Brown the meat & set aside.
2. Lower the heat & add the remaining oil. Fry the shallots for 5 minutes until golden then stir in the garlic & add the meat, along with any juices. Add the wine, stock, & rosemary. Bring to the boil, then cover the surface of the stew with greaseproof paper. Put on the lid & cook in the oven for about 1 hour 45 minutes (adding a little stock if it looks dry)
3. Carefully remove the lid & paper and stir in the pasta. Return to the oven & cook, uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Next stir in the olives, most of the parsley and a little water, to loosen the mixture (if you wish)
Check seasoning, garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.

These quantities serve 4, but as I bought 1kg of veal, I will be increasuing the quantities of ingredients to make a couple of extra portions. Cathy is coming for dinner tonight - just an informal meal, but I still need to tidy the dining room a bit (!) - so I'm hoping to get 7 portions from what I'm cooking: 3 for tonight and then 4  (2x2) to go in the freezer for another couple of nights.
The quantities above give 400 calories a portion, but if I split my stew into 7 portions it will be slightly lower

Sounds good! Who else is coming for dinner?!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Back into the rhythm

So, my MiL has gone home, and we are ready to relax back into the gentle rhythm of our lives here in St Just. The Fete Patronale is this weekend, an event which, in the past, has caused some conflict and upset, as the travelling fair sets up in the car park just across the road from us. The upset has been less  this year, as the enormous Casino (that is Casino, as in slot machines, not Casino as in the supermarket) lorry which is usually parked outside our house has not made an appearance this year. There are the two sets of dodgems - small for the younger clientele, and big bumper cars for the youf - although last year the youf were more interested in getting rat arsed at the bar at the free dance than playing on the bumper cars. The constant music is a bit annoying (not that it's started yet...the damp grey weather has put people off) but I can live with that. We won't be kept awake (as has been the case in the past) as we are going to a friends' for a party and we're staying over night: it seemed the best solution.

While in the UK, I bought a copy of "Good Housekeeping", which had a whole month of recipes based on the Mediterranean diet. I'm sure you're aware of the studies that show that people in the Mediterranean countries live longer and more healthily,  as the basic diet that they eat can protect against heart disease, as well as guard against putting on weight. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, fish and olive oil has been shown to help improve health.
The basic "rules" are:
  • 2 portions (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 portion (25g) walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
  • 7+ portions (80-100g) fruit & veg
  • 1-3 portions (150ml) dairy
  • 3-6 portions (25g) wholegrain bread, rice, pasta or other grains
  • 1 small glass (125ml) wine - optional 
  •  2-3 portions (100-150g) fish/seafood
  • 3+ portions (150g cooked weight) pulses
  • 1-2 portions (100-150g) poultry
  •  Up to 4 portions (85-125g) red meat
I'm not sure if I'm going to follow this to the letter, as I think Mr FD (and me, too!) might feel the lack of red meat a bit too much...and I'm not that struck on fish... but I'm certainly going to be using some of the recipes in my meal planning.

I also bought  (at half price!) "The 5:2 Fasting Cookbook" which gives some delicious sounding recipes which I can use for our fasting days, as we're going to continue with the 5:2 as well. I put on quite a lot when I was in the UK, as the food at Summer School was very good, and some of the desserts difficult to resist. As well as the chips, the onion rings, the calimari, the bacon sandwiches... too much! too much!! I tried, but I didn't always manage it!!

One afternoon, while staying at MiL's, I spent a couple of hours going through these recipes and planning meals for the next month! They don't entirely fit the rules of the Mediterranean diet, but at least I'm making an effort to continue eating well. One thing that I think we must look at is bread consumption - with French baguettes and flutes it is difficult, but having discovered that there are about 280 calories in 100g of baguette (and I promise you, that's not much baguette for your calories!) we really need to be more aware of what we're eating.
Basically, one flute is 1,136 calories. So, for that reason, I'm trying to plan our lunches more carefully, rather than just "bread and stuff" - but it's difficult to be inspired with ideas, AND  motivated to make lunch as well as dinner!! But if we're going to cut down on bread I think that's what I need to try to do! The bakery does (sometimes) make pain aux ceréals and pain au mais (corn bread) which are denser, so I'll get these too, more than the usual flutes.

Here are next week's planned menus:
SUNDAY: Chestnut, mushroom & walnut soup/ scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast.
Veal casserole, pasta, purple cauliflower (I found this in the market!)
The veal casserole is from the Good Housekeeping recipes - I'll post it separately, maybe tomorrow

MONDAY: Fasting: Carnival Chicken (300 cals) will make up our main meal, with the rest in cuppasoup & Ryvita! The recipe includes Angostura bitters, which I haven't got; I'm not sure what taste they bring to the carnival, but whatever it is, it's going to be missing!

TUESDAY: Home-made houmous, HM tzatziki (3 tbsp of each), crudités, avocado, wholegrain bread
Salmon tray bake

WEDNESDAY: As yesterday.
Squash & pepper risotto, green salad, tomato salad. Here is the recipe - except the GH recipe uses pearl barley - to be a serving of pulses, I guess. I'm not sure I've seen pearl barley in France, so we'll just go with risotto rice!

THURSDAY: Small baked potato with tuna mayo/ cheese & bacon (Mr FD)
HM vegetable pizza & salad

FRIDAY Fasting: Sesame crusted salmon with soy vegetables (324 calories)

SATURDAY: Tuna mayo mix (me)/ spicy salmon (Mr FD) + salad + wholegrain bread.
Basil & courgette pasta

Mr FD cycles a lot, and, to be fair,  works off a goodly number of calories - cycling at 25kph for 3 hours uses 3,240 calories, and I'm pretty sure he has a slightly higher average speed than that - so on his cycling days, I suppose he needs to take in that number of calories...But maybe the carb:protein:fat ratio needs to be considered more. Perhaps I should be giving him a proper pasta-and-protein lunch, to set him up for his rides.  I'm not sure - does anybody else know?! 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Just popping in to say I'm back!

I won't repeat what I've already written over at The View from the Teapot but you can read what I've been up to over there.

I'll be back with the food at the weekend.