Sunday, May 22, 2016


Fully blown Just of my favourites
I am pleased to announce that we have finally had some rain.  Nearly two inches and as far as I'm concerned it can just keep coming.  I dug a hole today to plant a tree and there is still very little sub soil moisture...the whole region just needs a good soaking.  But the lawns are now green and because it hasn't been too cold plants are still growing before they shut down for winter.  The only drawback is that the dormant weeds are running rampant, so I have been busy weeding and mulching the beds.
Tim has been on a program to lose some more weight (he lost 20kgs last year) so I decided to go out in sympathy and join him.  For the last three weeks have been aiming to have 500 calories a day (in conjunction with a supplement called HCG).  500 a's not much and I did on several occasions exceed my quota but have managed to shed 4 kilos or thereabouts, kilos which were frankly just hanging around after the excesses of summer and in no hurry to move.  I can confess that I was often bloody starving but have become better at distracting myself and am rather proud that I haven't had any bread the whole time (toast is a weakness).  I failed on the wine front and had a few glasses and gosh the weekends are hard....
especially when a very special Christening wine is bought out of the cellar
It's very simple.  We were allowed to have 200g protein a day, not at the same time, lots of veg and a bit of fruit.  Egg for breakfast, soup for lunch, that kind of thing.  I have become very enamoured with Vietnamese pho (no noodles).  For dinner, meat and a cup or so of veg which can be a bit bland and boring but  I got better at making it more interesting.  I was not supposed to use oil (challenging) but a splash here and there did sneak into a few dishes.  You are supposed to cook onion or leeks in water, but really, that is just a bridge too far for me.


The chicken:
2 chicken thigh fillets (about 100g each)
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1 teasp dijon mustard
a few chilli flakes
thyme leaves
1/2 leek (or the white end of a couple of spring onions)
splash of olive oil
splash (about 2 tblsp) verjuice or white wine

The veg:
1 spring onion, chopped
chopped red chilli to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
1/2 - 1 zucchini, spiralized (I bought one for $10...not fancy but does the job)
chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180c.
Mix the worcestershire, dijon, chilli and thyme leaves in a bowl and add the chicken to marinate.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and add the sliced leek.  Cook gently until soft then put on a baking tray.  Cook the chicken in the frying pan until nicely browned and place it on top of the leeks.  (You know how I love to cook chicken and leeks).
Turn up the heat and add the verjuice or wine and sizzle for a minute or two then tip that over the chicken and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until it's cooked through.

For the vegetables, cook the spring onion in the frying pan with a splash of oil or water and add the chilli, garlic and capsicum and cook gently until the capsicum is soft.  Add the zucchini and stir fry until it is cooked through.

Arrange the veg on the plates and put the chicken on top.  Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze over some lemon juice (sorry for lack of styling)..
Irritatingly the weight falls off Tim much faster than it does for me and while there is often little joy, there is much satisfaction.  And some improved lifestyle habits that I hope to be ongoing definitely make it all worthwhile.  

Some observations:

We all eat too much
I really need olive oil.  And butter.
Life is too short to live without wine
I really missed proper cooking
I will not die if I have to have two days of 500 calories a week
You really need protein to stop you being hungry
I'm obsessed with roasted cauliflower
You can make pesto out of cashew nuts or pumpkin kernels if you don't want to use parmesan or nuts (more on that at a later date)
Spiralized zucchini makes an adequate substitute for pasta or noodles (after all, asking a pre-menstrual woman to give up pasta or noodles is like asking her to cut off her right arm).

So in the next little while I will give you some of the recipes I used in quest for a more slender version of ourselves.

Some reading for you:  I loved this article by Jonathon Franzen about his trip to Antarctica.

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