Saturday, 31 January 2015

Yuckity yuck

I've been wiped out today by a gastro - most of the day spent sleeping, vomiting or...well, I think you can guess!!
I don't know what it was - possibly a dodgy prawn, possibly something else. But whatever it was I think I might finally be getting over it. I had planned to work today and have fun visiting GYB sites tomorrow, but I'll have to work tomorrow now. Ah well....the best laid plans of Mice and Men - speaking of which, it is the Church Burns' Night supper today. I'm rather glad I hadn't planned to go! The cost of tickets was bit high at 30€ so we decided not to go.

Anyway. I'm going to doze again - unless my body has different ideas!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Thinking about the 5:2

Hello everyone! It has been lovely to have had so many visitors to both this blog and to The Teapot. If you are here for the Grow-Your-Blog party, you can read my special post here.

I have been trying to post more often, but someties it is difficult to know what to post about! The usual focus of this blog is food, but today it is a 5:2 Fasting far today (1.20 pm) I have had two cups of coffee with milk and a piece of sugar-free gum. It is nearly time for a bowl of butternut squash soup (slightly watered down) with half a slice of bread, and a big glass of water. Huzzah! I'm starting to feel ready for it.

I do think the 5:2 is a supportable way of losing weight, and, according to a lot of research, to become healthier too. It is a bit hard, but generally I manage without any problems, although I suspect that I go over the recommended 500 calories a fast day for women, and I probably eat too much of the junky stuff on the other days! However, even if I'm nearer 700 calories, it is still at most 50% of what I usually consume, and probably less than that!

Tonight's meal of spiced chicken sounds good...

1 tsp rapeseed oil
200g chicken fillets
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1tsp ground cumin
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g squash, cubed
100g  couscous
150ml hot chicken stock
150g sliced leeks
1/2 pepper chopped
Left over veggies from Sunday lunch

Heat oil in a large flameproof casserole, add chicken, coriander, paprika, cumin, leeks, pepper and onion and fry for 10 mins to lightly brown. Heat oven to 200C, Gas 6.
2 Add garlic, squash, cous cous, chicken stock and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and oven cook  for 25 mins until the chicken and squash are tender and the liquid absorbed.
3 Add left over veggies and cook for 5 more mins.

In fact, if you're following the 5:2 way of eating, Woman Magazine have some good resources - about a year ago I was offered a magazine by them, which had lots of recipes in. I use it a lot, even though it does use some convenience foods not available in France.

Their meal plans make the way of eating seem do-able:
Breakfast: Start your day with 2 Rye Ryvitas and spread with 2tsp Marmite. Calories so far: 90.
Lunch: Make soup your choice of lunch with a can of Weight Watchers’ filling Chicken, Potato & Leek soup (96 cals). As lunch is low cal, you have room for another snack, and a Sun-Maid Mini-Box (42 cals) is a great choice. Calories so far: 228.
Dinner: You still have quite a few calories for today, so tuck in to our tasty chicken tikka masala (225 cals), which leaves you with 89 calories extra for the day - see if one of our snacks under 100 cals takes your fancy. Total intake for whole day without snacks: 453.
 I personally prefer to go without breakfast, but others may find that harder. Of course, if you like your drinks with milk, you need to factor that into the calorie count too. If you are a 5:2-er do let me know. I'd like to know how you're finding it!

Sunday, 25 January 2015


...but I almost forgot! How stupid am I?! Luckily I saw that a couple of the blogs I now follow, through last year's Grow Your Blog party, have posted, and that reminded me.

So, here is the bit where I'm suppose to introduce myself, and tell you a little more about my tiny corner of blogland. Well, the fact that I almost forgot I was involved tells you something about me - full of good intentions then panicking to get them fulfilled!!

This is me:
 Fat Dormouse (but hopefully, getting thinner!)

I live in a tall house in the middle of a small village in France:

Here it is, decked out in 2012 for the Queen's jubilee!

We moved here in 2005 and now Mr FD is working as a Web Master for a French company and I am teaching English in various places and for various companies and to various ages. We live in the middle of Les Monts de la Madeleine. 

Here is a photo that Mr FD took of our village - you can just see our house. If I knew how to add arrows I would, but I don't. There! More info about me: I'm a Techno-Idiot! It's Mr FD who keeps me on the straight-and-narrow!
We have no children but we do have 4 cats. I'm a cat fanatic.

 This is Bib, when she arrived here in 2012 - a tiny kitten rescued from the Michelin R&D site where I was working. That box that she is sitting on is truly no bigger than 15 cm x 10 cm. She was only about 6 weeks old when I rescued her!

This is George, squeezing through the banisters to come and see us. He's a hunking great piece of cat now.
And here is George, his sister Millie, and Pomme all sharing a little Entente Cordiale.

I have two blogs: this is mostly about food, (and cats!) what we eat, our menus for the week, and my efforts to stick to the 5:2 way of eating. I also add rather too many LOL cats photos here too! I love food - I enjoy cooking and I am a true Gourmande - that doesn't really translate into English, but basically means "Someone who enjoys their food"! I love sharing recipes, and links to other sites, and hope that I might inspire others who are not so enamoured with cooking to give it a go.

I'm not very techno-minded (see above) so it's not all flashy-whizz-bang recipes with photos of every step. But they are recipes and menu plans that anyone can follow - I'm a rather busy working person, who enjoys trying different food. We don't often eat the same thing because I'm always trying something new! I am a great fan of the Hairy Dieters
and use a lot of their recipes.

So, in order to give you a flavour of what my blog is about, here are my menus for this week:

TODAY: Hairy Dieter Beef in red wine - I ca't find a link to this, but here's a link to the ingredients. Basically, brown the meat, add the shallots and bacon, then other ingredients. Then cook slow and long!

MONDAY: Sweet potato and bean cakes:

  • 1 sweet potato (about 200g), cut into cubes
  • 400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • juice 1 lime
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, torn
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 carrot, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
1.      Microwave the sweet potato on High for 6 mins until tender. Lightly mash the beans, then add the potatoes, 2 spring onions, coriander, chipotle paste and seasoning. Mash a little more until the potato is combined. Shape into 4 cakes.
2.      Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then fry the bean cakes for 4-5 mins each side.
3.      Meanwhile, mix the mayo, lime juice and seasoning in a bowl. Add remaining onion and salad ingredients and toss well. Serve alongside the bean cakes.

TUESDAY: (5:2 day) Spiced chicken and cous-cous Because it's a 5:2 fast day we won't have so much couscous, and I've got less chicken than is specified. I may bulk out with more vegetables.

WEDNESDAY: I have fairly recently taken up line dancing, on a Wednesday evening, after I've finished teaching. I get home late, so it's up to Mr FD to prepare dinner. Sometimes he will prep something, sometimes it's from the freezer. But tonight, I'm thinking I might support local entrepreneurs: on my way home I pass a new pizza van that has set up - so I think this week I will buy a couple of pizza on the way home!

THURSDAY: Hairy Dieter's Home Made fish fingers - basically 600g salmon fillets, dipped first into a mix of 1 tbsp flour + mixed herbs + lemon zest, then into yoghurt (NOT beaten egg), then into 50g breadcrumbs and baked ( 600g salmon for 4 people. 300g for us two) We'll have these with chips and homemade coleslaw.

FRIDAY: It's another 5:2 day. I'm teaching and don't get home until 7.15 so Mr FD is in charge of cooking. However, if I have time & feel generous, I might prep the meal beforehand. Today it is Hairy Dieters Coconut Prawn Curry

So there you are! A flavour of what this blog is about - food and cats.

And I hope you'll be back sometime again soon. Please also go and visit my other blog: The View From the Teapot (I'm about to write my Grow Your Blog post for that too!)
If you've read this far, you'll be pleased to know there's a Giveaway too! I have a jolly pop-up book about cakes (it's in French, but it's fun)

If you leave a comment, with some way of contacting you, then I'll enter you for the draw - I'll draw it on Feb 14th - just right for Valentine's Day!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

What are you taking on for Lent?

Instead of giving something up, why not take something on?!

Watch this video for more details...

                                                                                                                                                              ...Or go here to find out more.

Let's do Lent generously

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Lovely people

I had a lovely lunch today with lovely people today - it was Thierry & Barbara's last lesson.After 100 hours of lessons they have really become like friends, espêcially as we have been going out to lunch once a month too, as part of their course.

Today Barbara invited me to go for lunch at her house, with her & Thierry (They are partners, but live seperately as they both have children). We had a lovely courgette-and-tuna mixture, a type of paté, I suppose. Thierry, ever playful, compared its look to cat vomit (and, to be honest, he wasn't wrong!) but it tasted very good. Then we had duck breast, gratin dauphinoise and salad. Cheese and chocolate mousse followed, and then Barbara's friends turned up for coffee and cake!! We were supposed to be back at ILS (my language schoool) by 2.00, but we didn't make it until 2.30! It didn't matter though.

Thierry had made the cake using a jar of mincemeat he had bought at the" Irish Shop" in Clermont before Christmas. He used this recipe (which is in French) which describes mincemeat as "dried fruit for lazy people"!!!
It was a tad dry, and he was rather disappointed, but I liked it. They gave me half the cake (!!) for Mr FD...He has discovered that witha good layer of butter it is very nice indeed.

Then, after this lovely meal, they gave me a beautiful orchid!

It has been a real pleasure teaching these two, and I will miss them both very much.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

RECIPE: Pumpkin & Peanut Curry

As you might have gathered, Mr FD and I like our food...and while we do try to eat healthily, we are often tempted away from the narrow path by delicious cakes and biscuits. Whatever we are told about shop bought biscuits being full of hydrogenated fats (or whatever!) we still love them.

At the moment (well, not today, as it's a 2 day, from the 5:2 way of eating) I am particularly enjoying oat-and-chocolate biscuits from Ikea
They're a little too sweet but when paired, bite-for-bite, with a banana, they are rather too yummy!

I also enjoy browsing recipe sites on t'internet and copy-and-pasting interesting recipes - some of which I then never use! Here's one I found which sounds good, although I've never cooked it. Maybe it will be useful for KEZZIE who's trying to cook more veggie meals as her CB has recently decided to eat vegetarian.

So, for Kezzie and other cooks out there, I offer you - from a source I know not where! - 

pumpkin and peanut curry

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 800g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and roughly diced
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Small handful fresh coriander, with roots (if possible)
  • 2 red chillies, halved and deseeded 
1.Stir the peanut butter into a jug containing 200ml hot water, until it dissolves. Stir in the purée, lime zest and juice, soy or fish sauce and sugar. Ignore how ropey this looks! Set aside.
2.Remove the leaves from the coriander and set aside. Chop the stalks and roots as finely as you can, along with the chilli, garlic and ginger.
3.Heat the oil in a wok or good-sized pan and fry the onions quite briskly for a few minutes, so that they catch slightly. As soon as this starts to happen, add the pumpkin and stir-fry for a few minutes. 
4. Stir in the chilli mixture for 1 minute, then add the coconut milk. Stir, then add the peanut butter mix. Cook at a brisk simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the pumpkin is tender. (Frankly, I might be tempted to roast the pumpkin beforehand, to get a nice caremelised touch to it
5. Season to taste or add more soy or fish sauce, as you like. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with cooked rice

Let me know if you try it!

IN reply to your comments: 
Jean: Being a good Englishwoman, "chips" means "french fries" - except (to be awkward!) I never fry my chips, preferring to oven bake them, tossed in a bit of olive oil. However, we didn't have chips in the end...because there were some vegetables left over too, I used small cubes of potato sautéed with onion, mushroom and leftover veggies. Yum!
Kezzie: Following you admission, I will admit that we sometimes let the cats lick the plates - they do go through the dishwasher afterwards though! But hush! That's just between you and me!
Trish, and Maggie, and PomPom - Kitteh pictures are always good, but I particularly like the Kitten yoga one! Maggie - Keep on trying to cook. If you're looking for inspiration, I can't recommend Nigel Slater recipes highly enough for his sheer love of food, which comes across in his writing. He's my secret hero!