Sunday, 30 March 2014

Yummy Food Again!

I do hope some of you will enter my Giveaway - otherwise I'm going to look very daft!! Go on...there's some great recipes on there, even if you're NOT following the 5:2 eating plan!


Yesterday our friend Richard came for a curry-and-film night. Richard is vegetarian, so we had home made onion bhajis, which were okay...but I didn't cook them for long enough,so the inside was still stodgey and undercooked. I made dhal, and a vegetable madras (just using a sauce from Noz!) with home made flat breads. They were good - and easy! Again Mr FD thought they might have needed a little longer cooking, but I'm not sure about that.

 We finished with a baked cheesecake and raspberry coulis. I wasn't convinced by this dessert - it seemed a bit too stodgey: I think I prefer a no-bake cheesecake. 

We watched the Coen brothers film "Inside Llewyn Davis" which I quite enjoyed. It wasn't quite my cup of tea, but it was watchable. Mr FD is a Coen brothers fan.
The cat was my favourite character!

In an attempt to be organised, I now have my month's menu plans on the computer...all very organised...I wonder how long it will last! 
SUNDAY Wild boar from the freezer, garlic mash and cabbage.

MONDAY: (semi fasting): Vegetarian shepherd's pie, with a bit of the mash from yesterday. It's not really fasting food, but it's an attempt to reduce calories!!

TUESDAY: Veggie bean burgers, SW chips, salad, coleslaw. This is the Hairy Dieter's recipe, and I'll be making the full amount and freezing half for later in the month.

WEDNESDAY: Vegetable bolognaise. This is from the WOMAN recipe book that you could win the app for!  It looks tasty and good-for-you! We may have it with a bit extra pasta, as it's only 250 calories per portion - half the mix is destined for the freezer again!
THURSDAY:(semi fasting)  Hairy Dieter's Chicken Provençale - This is a similar recipe, but it uses a bit more oil, and the Hairy Dieter's use more veggies (a yellow pepper as well as the red, more courgettes) to bulk it out. I cooked this last Sunday, so Mr FD will only have to pull it out and stick it in the oven.

FRIDAY: More like proper fasting Simple Spanish omelette (from the WOMAN book) with some salad

SATURDAY: Meat lasagne from the 5:2 Recipe book... a white sauce made from ricotta cheese and eggs, with a 5%mince + lots of veggies sauce.  I'll probably make two and again put one in the freezer...with three evenings when I don't get home till 7 pm and another when I'm working at home until 6.30 I don't think I have the time to start cooking from scratch. Sunday afternoons are looking like they're going to be my batch-cooking time.

So today I have to prepare extra mashed potatoes, and the vegetable bolognaise sauce, together with a soup to keep us going through the week. That's not too bad...I may bake some biscuits too from the Super Simple Recipe on the 40Acts site:

275g plain flour
175g grease
75g sugar
Vanilla/cinnamon/fruit/nuts/chocolate (to taste)
METHOD: Mix everything together. Bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Thank you again for your comments. I love reading them, & do try to answer.

SANDRA: You should try to eat better! But I think you know that! Look after yourself, dear friend!

JANE&CHRIS: I won't deny that your lovely looking pizza put the thought in my head! And while the one we had was nice, I bet yours was even more delicious!

POMPOM: Here's another Lolcat for you. Can you identify this breed of cat?! 

 And here is a table that I can't seem to delete!!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Officially Excited!

Oh, oh! I am really pleased - I feel I have "made it" as a Blogger!!!


Well, I was contacted by IPC Magazines to see if I wanted to review their 5:2 app for the i-Phone/i-pad. Unfortunately I don't have an i-Pad/i-Phone, but when I told Emma, my contact this, she offered to send me the "real" book. I generously bit her arm off - I much prefer books in the kitchen, anyway - and last Wednesday I received the 500 Calorie Diet Complete Meal Planner book.
I spent Wednesday evening salivating over the recipes, and I am planning to use several in next week's meal planning (another post for that)

There are recipes with 100 calories & under, which are breakfast orientated, recipes with 200 calories & under and recipes with 300 calories & under. I generally prefer to fast all day and enjoy a larger meal in the evening, but the recipes look so tempting that I may change my method! I'm also planning on using the recipes for our non-fast days (but - of course! - in bigger quantities). 

One recipe I have tried already is Manchego and chorizo quesadillas. Because I wasn't on a fast day I ate the whole lot myself, instead of dividing it into four, as suggested in the book - it was delicious, but I think I would find it really tricky to eat just a quarter of it! 

There are also some useful tips about how the 5:2 diet works, some "real life" stories and celebrity stories too. I'm not as interested in those as the recipes, but the calorie counter is useful, as is the round up of snacks. There are also some "rapid cook" recipes for those days when you want to fast but really, really can't be bothered cooking much. Another helpful tip is how to adapt the meals for non-dieters

One of the recipes I'm planning on using next week is Pesto Cod and Veggie parcels- 
but not on a fast day - so I'll use the extra advice on how to make some yummy sounding garlic mash to go with it, and have extra vegetables too. 

For me, the one downside is that some of the recipes use ready prepared ingredients that aren't available here in France...however, I can either find equivalents, or, with a bit of ingenuity, either find an alternative or put my own version together. Otherwise I can see that this is a recipe book I'm going to be turning to again and again.

BUT, that's not all! Emma has given me 5 apps to offer to my lovely, lovely Followers! So you too can take advantage of this really rather helpful & inspirational book.

FREE  5:2 meal planner app up for grabs
  Woman magazine are giving you the chance to try this app, for FREE.  I have 5  x 5:2 meal planner apps to be won. All you have to do is become a Follower of my blog, Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner, and tell me ( in no more than 50 words - or so!), why you want to try it.   Please make sure that I have a way of contacting you if you win. Do note that I'm doing this in association with WOMAN magazine and make sure you check the terms & conditions below.
If you’re not lucky enough to win, you can download a copy on your iPhone or iPad :
Terms and conditions: There are 5 prizes to be won, the prizes are in the form of FREE codes to download the app via iPhone of iPad.  The competition is live from today, Saturday 29th March to Saturday 6th April. The 5 winners will be chosen  at random and the decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.  Once winners have been picked, they will be informed on how to redeem their prize with Woman magazine. Woman magazine will use the winners data to contact them to fulfil the prizes. Prizes will be fulfilled within 28 days of winner notification. Subject to availability. IPC Media standard competition terms and conditions apply.  Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.
 I am absolutely thrilled to be able to offer you this app - because I can happily say that this will become one of my go-to resources when I'm menu planning - both on Fast Days and on other days too!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

If you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good

“If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it's such a brilliant thing isn't it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good, you know?" (Jamie Oliver)

Not a particularly erudite quote but how right he is! We will be eating with friends tonight, and, I think sharing cake and champagne with other friends tomorrow.

The cake-and-champagne is because tomorrow we will be voting in the Mayoral elections here in France for the first time. We probably would not have got round to bothering to register, but our amazing friend Clare, who seems to fit 10 times as much as anyone else into her life, is on "the list" for one of the candidates and mobilised the English voters in the commune to register!

The Mayoral candidate presents a list of the same number of people as are on the Council; then, according to some complicated system that I don't fully understand people from one list, or the oppositions' lists are voted on the Council. There are only two candidates in our canton: the present mayor, who has done quite a good job, and another guy. Clare is supporting our current mayor, and I must say that, even without her presence on the List we would not be voting for the opposition, who is right wing, and appears quite hypocrtical in values stated and actual family situation...So we are going to celebrate our involvelment in village politics, if not Clare's election ontto the Council! And the cake? Well, today's 40 Acts is a cake making challenge, and I really want to try the recipe for Humming bird cake (from last week) so it's a no brainer: Hummingbird cake to share with friends.

We'll also be celebrating Mr FD's new job, which he starts on Tuesday!

I think the way I plan our meals, and what we eat, is going to have to change a little in the coming months: We think that Mr FD will be arriving home at 6.30-ish, and because of the increase in hours that I have (huzzah!) on three, or maybe four, days a week I won't get home until after 7.00. He won't necessarily want to start cooking from scratch (unless it's an easy meal) and I certainly won't want to!

So I think that when I do have time to cook properly (which looks like weekends and Tuesday) I will have to do more batch cooking and freezing than I have before, and our meals maybe won't be quite so varied. At the moment, I try not to repeat a meal during a month, but I'm thinking that will change. We will continue to fast, but I think it may become a "semi-fast" with an aim to eat under 1,000 calories two days a week, rather than the prescribed under 500 calories - I fear that if I'm teaching, and driving home lateish, the slightly wibbly feeling I get from fasting might not be a good idea!

Our meals this week look like this:
Out with friends

However, this will be light on lamb and heavy on vegetables, in the hope that I can get 4 servings out of it. So I will add some butternut squash (in place of the sweet potato), some ordinary potatoes, and some pepers. Then I will freeze 2 portions. I'm also planning to cook 4 portions of Hairy Dieters Chicken Provençale to freeze as well - the only problem with all this freezing is finding room in the freezer for it!

semi fasting

 This will have kidney beans rather than haricot beans (Mr FD prefers them) and again, I hope to be able to freeze some.

Hairy Dieter's salmon with chilli and ginger sauce, rice and vegetables from the freezer.

I have a rather tasty potato-duck-and green-bean mix in the freezer.We'll have this, with extra green beans &/or a green salad. Not very diet-y, but still - very nice!!

Just add green beans to the image!!

(semi fasting)
Chicken provencale, cooked last Sunday. Mr FD can plonk it in the oven. We won't have any starch with it.

Next week I hope to have some Happy news to share about Friday, but it will mean we get home late. I think this will be a quick fresh pasta and ready made sauce meal.

I have been involved in 40 Acts. Can I encourage you to go over to The View from the Teapot  to read what I've been doing, and especially to read Keith's guest post about the charity Lend With Care

As usual, thank you dear Readers for your comments.

ANGELA: At dinner parties/meals with friends we definitely serve both cheese and dessert, and, according to French tradition, we have cheese first and then the sweet stuff. It gives an opportunity to finish the wine, (or an excuse to open another bottle!!) before the sugar interferes with one's tastebuds. 


POMPOM: As you will have read, Mr FD did get the job! Huzzah for Him! Did you sort out your blip?

KEZZIE: The stir fry was good, but didn't look as pretty as the one in the photo!

DAWN: Thank you for saying the menus looked general they were! Although (don't tell anyone!) we had take out pizza last night, rather than the planned gnocchi. I just fancied a pizza!!!

LORI, KEZZIE & MICHELLE: Thank you for congratulations on the job news. We are both really rather chuffed!

KEITH: Thanks for your comment too - I'd love to meet for lunch, IF I CAN! Lunchtimes may become a sandwich-eaten-in-the-car if all the possible lessons happen on the same day! If you have plans to come to Clermont let me know, & we'll see.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Happy, happy dance (and news of a lovely Giveaway)

Mr FD was offered the job and has accepted it!! He starts on Tuesday!! His first interview in French and he nails it!! What a clever sausage he is.

I've just been offered 150 hours worth of work (spread over several months, bien sur!) with my favourite language school. yes, I'll have to travel to Clermont but it'll be worth it! Phone lessons are easier, but I still prefer face-to-face. I may also have some other face-to-face lessons in Riom (travel expenses paid for this one!!) as well.

Also, there is a super-duper Giveaway going on at Morning Glories and Moonflowers. The lovely Lori is offering the opportunity to win a beautiful, quite frankly, I'd rather you didn't enter, as it gives me more of a chance, but, hey - share the happiness around!

Saturday, 15 March 2014


The beginning of the week followed the Menu planning, but it all went a bit haywire on Thursday...We'd planned to go to Lyon to watch a film, so fasting was not an option - we would want to go to a restaurant! - but, when it came down to it, Mr FD and I both had a bit too much work to do, so the plan to go to Lyon was abandoned - but by then we'd had breakfast and lunch. So we thought we'd fast on Friday instead. Thus, we had Friday's planned meal of sausages & onion gravy and lower calorie calcannon. It was very nice (but we had two sausages each, after all!)

On Thursday afternoon, Mr FD was asked to go for an interview for a job (keep those fingers and toes crossed!) the next day over towards we decided to go to the cinema...which meant we'd be going to a restaurant (huzzah!) So no fasting on Friday.

We went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was very enjoyable, and ate in a traditional(-ish) Lyon "Bouchon" I had salade de chevre chaud (Goats cheese in filo pastry + salad) & Mr FD had a salad with chicken livers; then we both had magret de canard in a red fruit sauce. Delicious! To finish we both had Tarte Praliné which had disappointingly few nuts in it

I suppose we could fast today...but I don't want to!! I had a small breakfast though (coffee, half an apple and a Danacol yoghurt) and will have a fairly small lunch too (fridge bottom soup and a bit of bread) so I hopeto make up for a slight over-indulgence yesterday.

On a positive note: I have a pair of "aspirational jeans" which I haven't fitted into for over 8 years. I tried them on yesterday and I can now fit into them almost comfortably - sitting down and everything! That's a size down from 6 months ago, and 2 sizes down from last summer...Still a size to go (I'd like to lose another 12 kg or so) but I'm happy!

Our food plans for the next week aren't very exciting as most things are being pulled out of the freezer, but here we go:
Roast pork, roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage, gravy.

Pork and vegetable stir fry, with sweet chilli sauce and Thai noodles - using the leftovers from the pork yesterday

Meat loaf, (in freezer), baked potatoes and baked beans

Vegetable lasagne in freezer, and salad

Veggie chilli in freezer with a bit of rice.

Fresh gnocchi, with a pesto, tomato, mushroom sauce- a quick to cook meal when I get home from teaching and shopping.

which look lush!

As always, thank you for your comments.

POMPOM: I think with The Teapot you just hit "reply" to comment, but I'm not sure. Other people are managing - maybe you just had a blip that day?

CLAIRE: I'm really enjoying your Lenten reflections over at Another Deep Day. I have been blogging most days about my reaction to 40Acts over at the View from the Teapot - I hope others will join us there.

CRO MAGNON: It's good to go vegetarian I think from time to time. I'm trying to eat more fish too, but I don't know which are best...I thought panga was okay until I read about how they are farmed (it was pretty tasteless too), cod is off, Norwegian salmon has had lots of chemicals added, haddock is also over fished, I believe...Sigh.  I look for the "responsibly fished" label and hope for the best!

DAWN: I'm glad you like the blog...and the chicken chow mein wasn't bad either!!! Do continue to pop in for ideas, won't you?

JANE & POMPOM: Here's another LolCat just for you (with added bonus David Tennant for me.)

David Tennant and a cute kitten...all I need now is a big glass of red wine and a bag of Sensations Thai Chilli crisps and I'm in heaven!!!

Edited to Add:


I have just followed a Facebook link to this cake. It looks delicious and easy to make. I may have to try it! (and possibly revise my image of heaven...It may require a large slice of this cake as well!)

Monday, 10 March 2014

Just to say...

...I'm "Pausing in Lent" and reflecting on my participation in 40Acts over at The View from the Teapot

Do go and have a look!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Hello, hello, hello!

This week has been rather thin on the work front - because it's school holidays I haven't got the kids that I usually have, and I have very few phone lessons at the moment. That is beginning to pick up a little, but not much. My face-to-face work at the Chambre de Metiers is finishing next Monday, and while there is the probability that will continue it hadn't been confirmed yet. I also finished another course with The Hunter, so our finances will be a tad stretched this month. Still, I know I have courses to restart in a couple of weeks - the kids, for example - and I am hopeful for the phone lessons. We're off to the UK in April for a week - to see Elbow (Yay!) and our families, of course - so that will be another week of lesons missed, but d'you know, I'm not going to worry. We are warm, clothed and fed: we have some savings: we are in a much better situation than so many families.

Another thing to be thankful for is you guys - I'm happy to see another two new Followers. It must mean that I'm doing something right!! So I am very pleased to be able to offer a Big Fat Dormouse Welcome to
Both lovely, homely blogs about every day lives. The kind I enjoy reading!

Food plans got shifted around this week...Wednesday became pasta for Mr FD as I had a large lunch with colleagues after a meeting - we all took something along, so we had quiche, coleslaw, and cous cous, guacamole (made by a real Mexican. it was delish!), cheese and mince pies. So in the evening I just had soup. Thursday I didn't fancy the bean-and-feta salad so we had Chicken Chow Mein - with a huge number of vegetables and 25g raw rice each. Yesterday we were invited out for lunch (roast chicken, and roast chicory with the most beautifully buttery mashed potato, followed by baked apple) so it was soup again for supper...So the planned fajitas from Wednesday are being eaten today, and the Cornish pasties (planned for tonight and midweek next week) are being jettisoned to make way for spinach-and-feta samosas - using up the feta that I bought for the salad on Wednesday!

So, planned for next week is:

Hairy Dieter's Baked fish with chorizo crust We'll have this with some herby roast potatoes and lots of vegetables. 
                                                                 Source: here

(semi fasting)

Mushroom, tomato and cardomom curry with rice. I do find that when I'm fasting a good spicy meal is more satisfying than something bland. Of course, the more veggies it has to fill you up the better! Again, we'll have this with 25g raw rice each. At present I'm using rice similar to this:
 Source: here
A Fair Trade mix of basmati and red rice: I got it on offer at Noz. It's a bit bizarre as it turns the water a muddy purple-brown mixture which is most unappetising, but it tastes good!


We'll have the aforementioned spinach-and-feta samosas. Probably using this filling (scroll down to Spanakopita recipe) or maybe this one with lentils added. Whichever I make it will be in samosa form rather than a big pie, for ease of freezing the left overs (though the freezer is rather full at the moment!)
Source: here
We'll have this with oven chips (or wedges) and homemade coleslaw.


Butternut squash fritata. I may toss in some feta cheese as well. Served with lots and lots of salad. You can find the recipe on this earlier post of mine - you'll need to scroll down a little though


Sausages, onion gravy and Hairy Dieter's Colcannon, which uses savoy cabbage chopped into the mashed potato, and a couple of rashers of lean bacon. No butter in this mash though!! Of course, the Hairy Dieter's suggest using low fat sausages, but they don't exist here. Instead (sorry, Mr FD!) we'll only have 1 Toulouse sausage each...they do have a whopping amount of meat in them though. I think it's about 150g per sausage, so that should really be sufficient!

Source: here

-vegetarian - 
Spicy bean burgers (mix already in freezer) with chips and more salad.

Again, a big thank you to everyone who has commented over the past week: it is always appreciated!

POMPOM: I think that's one of the few "selfies" I've ever taken! It's not that flattering, I must admit!!

SANDRA (Thistle Cove Farm) I'm glad the book arrived, but sorry to hear you're not feeling too good. I hope you find it inspirational: it was gifted to me by Ang at Tracing Rainbows, and after reading it and digesting it I thought to pass it on to you...Pass It Forward, as they say!!

KEZZIE, ANG & EVERYONE ELSE WHO EXPRESSED SYMPATHY FOR MY MISSING BLOG ROLL: Yes! You were right! They have all come flooding back.

ANG: I wasn't impressed by "cauliflower rice" but have made a successful cauliflower pizza base which was okay. It wasn't like a "proper" pizza base, but if you're cutting out carbs or gluten it might work for you. I think I prefer fewer, but proper, pizzas though!

JO: You'd be very welcome to visit (but only one Toulouse sausage per person!!)

MARIA: Enjoy your visit to the UK - I can't imagine you'll find many restaurants serving Pan Haggerty outside of the North East...and even then you might struggle! Where are you going?

And here is a special edition Sausage themed LOLcats

PS forgot to mention, I've lost another 1.4 kg. Yay!

My LOL cats weightloss programme appears to be working!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Don't you love getting parcels?!

 This is a copy-and-^paste from The Teapot. I wanted to share the lovely things I received from Kimberley.

I recently took part in a blog swap with Kimberley in New Zealand entitled “Love Your Country”. I blogged about what I sent her over here, and yesterday I arrived home to an excitingly lumpy parcel from NZ. It sat on the sofa while I ate my supper (sweet potato and chorizo soup, bread and cheese – I’d had a rather large lunch with some of my work colleagues after a meeting) but then I had to open it. Oh! It was full of lovely things…

Something to eat:
I am particularly looking forward to the “Mighty Perky Nana” bar!

Something handmade that represents your country: Kimberley made me a shower cap from a fabric covered in images of the pukeko bird. Here is me modelling said shower cap (don’t panic! I’m not in the shower!!)
A fine blurry photo!!!
And here is a Pukeko bird (Source: here)
This one isn’t on my shower cap though!

A tourist knick-knack:
two fridge magnets, and a Kiwi key ring, plus some lovely soap (lemongrass – one of my favourite scents!)
“Tiki” salad servers – The Tiki is a raditional Maori figure which is a good luck charm.

Stationery: Kimberley sent some postcards of New Zealand:
I would like to know, is the Kiwi as cuddly as he looks (except for the beak – which, admittedly, looks less cuddly!) or is he a bit vicious? Can a New Zealander let me know? I would like one of my own!
A souvenir tea towel: Yay! More Kiwis! Who would have known there were three types?!
This shows the Great Spotted Kiwi, but there is also the Little Spotted Kiwi and the Brown Kiwi. See, tea towels can be educational as well as useful!

So, THANK YOU!! Kimberley – this has been a lovely swap. I hope you enjoy your presents as much as I like mine, and I look forward to finding out what other people received in their parcels too.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

If you would like a different view

...don't forget I have another blog over at The View From the Teapot.

It would be nice to see you there too!

End of blatant self promotion!

Life in a small French village