Tag Archives: Weight loss

Carrot soup

20 Sep

I say ‘carrot soup’ but really this could be any root veg soup. But seriously this is the easiest thing in the world to make. If you can cut with a knife you can make this soup.

Pimped up carrot soup

Before you start I should fess up. It’s not strictly a carrot soup, as I add some lentils to it – to give it a bit of body and also add some protein. If you want to omit the lentils do, and it will be ready much quicker too. But I’d be tempted to throw in a wee sprinkle of flour and mix it in before adding the water, to thicken it slightly.

Carrot soup

  • 1 large onion, chopped as best you can
  • about 6 medium/large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • a dash of oil
  • 1tsp or so ground coriander
  • about 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock cube
  1. Using a heavy bottomed pan, splash the oil into the bottom of the pan and ‘sweat’ the onion and carrots over a gentle heat.
  2. At this point you should put a kettle full of water on to boil
  3. Add the coriander, the lentils and the stock cube and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring well to prevent it burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan
  4. Pour the kettleful of water into the pan, and bring to a simmering boil
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes
  6. Pour into a liquidiser and zizz it up till it’s beautifully smooth
  7. Serve – feel free to glamorise it with some yoghurt and/or a sprinkle of parsley. Or croutons. I’ll tell you about my croutons another day.

There are lots of ways to play about with the recipe – grate some orange zest and squeeze some orange juice into it; add some harissa paste; add other root veg – parsnips and turnip would work well.

And of course you can use this same basic principle, of sweating veg then adding liquid to make all manner of other soups – swap out the onion and carrot for leeks and potatoes, or keep the onions and use butternut squash instead of carrots.

The cat’s whiskers

17 Jun

Not really, it’s cat’s tongues. Or Langues de Chat biscuits. But I’ll come to them in a minute.

We had some friends over for supper yesterday. We were going to barbecue, which is lovely and simple and just involves prepping a variety of things and then bringing it all together in a communal cook-a-thon on our most excellent portable barbecue (an upcycled old wheelbarrow).

But it’s Scotland in mid-June so the skies opened and it didn’t stop raining all day long. Add that to a cold wind and it was clearly no evening for a barbecue.

Plan B was homemade burgers. So we had a totally retro meal with prawn cocktail to start (with bought-in iceberg lettuce, because when I went to pick lettuce from the garden I discovered the rabbit had been there before me. Grrrr), and strawberry ripple ice-cream for afters, with langues de chat biscuits.

I could get seriously addicted to these biscuits, so it’s just as well that they are ridiculously easy to make. As far as a biscuit goes, I think these deliver the max on Ease of Making vs Tasty Loveliness. And if you’re careful you can make them look utterly professional in a uniform sort of a way.

Langues de Chat

Preheat oven to 200C / GM6. Lining a baking sheet (or two) with greaseproof paper. Find your piping bag, and fit it with a plain nozzle.

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g softened, unsalted butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 120g plain flour, sifted
  1. Beat together the icing sugar and butter, till it is soft and fluffy
  2. Add the vanilla and then the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Fold in the plain flour
  4. Dollop it all into your piping bag (you know that the easiest way to do this is to put the whole bag into a tall container, folding the bag over the edges, a bit like how you’d line a bin with a bin liner)
  5. Squeeze the mixture onto your baking sheets (if you’re a true professional, you might have drawn lines on your paper, so all the biscuits are the same length. I’m not).. you are probably looking for 2″ long squeezes. They expand a bit on cooking so leave enough room for them to spread out.
  6. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden and going nicely brown at the edges.
  7. Leave for a minute or two on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These are perfect with ice cream. Or a cup of coffee. Or a bowl of strawberries. Or made into sandwiches with jam, or lemon curd, or chocolate ganache (but do this just before you serve them as they’ll go soft after a wee while).

As an aside, the ice cream I made didn’t work. It turns out that if you don’t put enough sweet stuff in with the cream it stays too hard and feels like solid cream with ice crystals in it. Bah. And in the past I’ve made such nommy ice cream. Never mind. The biscuits were great. So was the company.

Note to self These biscuits only help weight loss if you don’t eat them, or any of the raw mixture. Or perhaps if you limit yourself to only one or two. And I mean only one or two in total, not just one or two at a time. They are seriously more-ish!  But seriously, they come out as such teeny wee light wee biscuits that they might be good for some people on a diet – one or two biscuits might give you enough of a wee sugary hit, without breaking the calorie bank.

Chicken chasseur

12 Jun

So, I’m trying to be really organised, planning meals in advance and doing a big shop once a week in Edinburgh. And this week I’ve got some of it right. I did the big shop (online, delivered yesterday evening) and then started the planning once I had the food in my cupboards and the fridge. Clearly that’s the wrong way around, but it’s ok.. it’s coming together. And next week I’ll be better and plan first, shop second.

The other problem with my shop is that I hadn’t been home in my flat for ten days, so the shopping was sort of done from memory. As a result I’ve got LOTS of flour, and am running out of washing up liquid. Ah well, first world problems!

Anyway, this evening my plan told me that supper would be made from chicken, mushrooms, potato. And perhaps carrot and courgette. This was all pointing towards a chicken chasseur. Chasseur recipes are meals that hunters might eat (I think) … although I suspect that no self-respecting hunter would eat the chicken I was going to cook. But I think it is the mushrooms that all chasseurs traditionally have. Or am I entirely wrong and that’s a chicken forestiere? Oh, I really must do some research before I start trying to write about things I think I know more about than I really do.

But this is my version of what I am going to call chicken chasseur. It’s relatively cheap, easy to adapt, and pretty healthy. I’m trying to lose weight at the moment. Trying? I’m succeeding! I’m on weightwatchers, and it’s working really well for me, losing between 1 and 2lbs a week. And this recipe works well on the weightwatchers system. So I’ll be having leftovers for lunch tomorrow with some bulgur wheat!

Chicken Chasseur

  • 600g chicken thighs (between 6 and 8 thighs probably). Either leave them whole, or cut them into chunks… cut off any fat, to keep it healthy
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half then sliced thinly, in half moon shapes
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped into wee chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • about 300g chestnut mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • thyme – either dried or fresh, or parsley
  1. Brown the chicken thighs in a large frying pan. If you have an oil sprayer, then use that, if you don’t then use a minimum amount of oil so the thighs don’t stick
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and put to one side
  3. Lightly fry the onion in the pan for 3-4 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients, and add the chicken back into the pan
  4. Add a half a pint or so of water. Ideally everything should be in the sauce, although it doesn’t need to be entirely submerged.
  5. Stir it gently, then cover the pan and let it bubble away for about 30 minutes. Less time if you cut those thighs into bits before you started.
And that’s it. Serve it with bulgur wheat. Or a baked potato. Or potato wedges, done in the oven with other roasted veg such as courgettes, and onions. That’s what I had this evening and it was super tasty.
And now I’m going to be really geeky and make a list of the foods I have in my cupboard, so I can tick things off when I need them and be more organised with my shopping, and eating. Yeah, go me, I’m so rock n roll!

A list for 2012

8 Jan

OK, here goes.  These are NOT resolutions.  Resolutions are wrong, but what is most wrong about them is the time of year we generally make them.  Who on earth has the energy in these cold dark January months (in Scotland at least) to change all those bad habits?  Not me.

Must update my things to do list...

  1. Lists I am going to write more lists in 2012. This is my shorthand for planning better, and accomplishing things I want to accomplish. I know, from experience, that once I identify a goal I am usually pretty good at achieving it. It’s the identifying bit that has always come hard to me. So, 2012 will be the year of accomplishment (through the medium of the list!)
  2. Fish I am going to cook and eat more fish in 2012.  And more varieties of fish too. Yes, Hugh Fearnley Whatsit, I’ve listened to you.
  3. Spice Another very specific one related to cooking and eating. I am going to sort through my kitchen cupboards, specifically the jars and jars of spices and herbs.  I’m going to throw out things that are way past their best, and only smell of dust now. And I’m going to start again from scratch. I’ll make a list of what I’ve got, and will use them regularly. I’ll be experimental, I’ll try things out for myself, and I’ll be inspired by new recipes and other cooks/chefs.  If I buy new jars of spices I’ll endeavour to use them over and over again so I don’t need to throw out a nearly full jar again in 3 years time. And, to make things easier, I’ll put wee labels on the lids of all the jars so I can easily see what I’ve got (they live in a twirly pull out corner cupboard unit thing below eye level).
  4. Craftiness OK, I’m going to get specific here.  I’ve already signed up to the Underachievers Group in Ravelry and am committed to knitting at least 6 things this year.  That means finishing 6 things, not just starting them and then moving onto something else when I find something new and shiny to do instead. I also want to sew at least 6 things and embroider (either by hand or by machine) at least 6 things.  Oooh, it’s looking a bit like the craftiness of the devil now, with my 6-6-6 goals. Hey ho!
  5. Weight I am going to lose 3 stone. There, I’ve said it.  So my first goal will be to lose 1 stone by the end of March.  That’s surely achievable? I’ll keep with my low carb diet, which worked well for me to start with, but (inevitably) led to a plateau once I became less strict with it. Over Christmas I ignored the diet altogether – I was relatively sensible, but ate the things I wanted to eat, as opposed to only the things I should eat if I want to lose weight. I put on 1lb, which I don’t think is too bad, but I want to reverse that trend again and get healthier.
  6. Being social I go out quite a lot through the week when I’m living in Edinburgh. I stay home in the Valley at weekends. I love my life and although living in two places has its drawbacks (the right accessory is never in the right home when I want it) it’s a pretty good balance between social and chilled. Some weeks I find I’d like to have another night or two in my flat instead of being out.  And I’d like to see more things, do more things when I’m out – yes, I love blethering with my mates, but I also love experiencing new things. So, I guess I need to put numbers on this.  I’ll aim low.  I’m going to go to the theatre/cinema (or attend ‘something’) at least once a month. And I’m going to have an average of at least 2 nights a week in the flat.
  7. Holiday I’m going to go somewhere this year.  Don’t know where, but I need to get away and see something new and different with these eyes.  And perhaps get the warmth of the sun on my back. Any suggestions?
  8. Progress Spreadsheets!  Oh, I do love a good spreadsheet.  And I’m going to spreadsheet my life this year. I already have one for my weight loss(gain!) but will also record all the other goals and see how I go.  I will also report back here of course, but perhaps not too regularly – really you don’t want to know about the minutiae of my life.
  9. The blog Last year I decided to really get going with this blog, pretty much as a way to record recipes as I went along. It’s intended for me more than for anyone else (sorry readers, but that’s how it was at the beginning!). Now I’m more aware that other people read it occasionally, in fact if I look at my stats quite a lot of you read it!  Thanks! So, I’m going to be a better blogger. I’ll try to blog something every Sunday. And, if I treat myself to a new camera at some point I will take better pictures of everything.  Occasionally you might have a blog which is just pictures.  After all, one’s worth a thousand words.  Think of all the typing I could save myself!

Right.  I think that will do it.  I like odd numbers. And 9 is one of my favourite numbers. I like numbers. I like that 9 is 3 squared. And I like that it’s part of 29 (a prime number) which is my favourite number.

Oh, and to keep my list at a nice odd 9, instead of a hideous decimal 10, I am leaving my books list elsewhere. But shall record it on my spreadsheets, oh yes.

August doesn’t count I’m not sure I need to say much more on that. It just doesn’t. It’s my month off. Some things can be achieved in August more easily (I hope I’ll go to more events in August than in the rest of the year put together) but others are trickier. I’m relaxed about that. I’ll achieve what I can, and not stress about the things I can’t.

No more white stuff

12 Jul

I went to see a nutritionist last week.  I’d been feeling lethargic and generally pretty unwell for quite a while, and I’ve been overweight for as long as I can recall, but more weight has gradually piled on top of what was already too heavy.

It was an interesting experience, not least because I was sitting in her house while the most incredible storm was happening outside.

Anyway, as a result I’m on a low carb, high protein diet.  I’m not eating any carbs for breakfast, and limiting them the rest of the day, but trying to cut out those refined white carbs altogether.  In addition to protein I must eat lots of green veg, darker green the better – so lots of spinach and savoy cabbage, both of which I love.  And I can have full fat yoghurt, which I’m loving.

After three days I’d lost 3lbs, which I figure is pretty good going.  And I’ve upped my walking and (probably because I’m eating lots of protein) I’ve pretty much ditched the snacks in the office.

So, this blog will no doubt start having slightly different recipes for a while, until I get my head round this new regime.  So far I’ve been keeping it pretty simple – salmon steaks with lettuce tonight, steak with spinach and savoy cabbage last night.  Chicken salads at lunchtime.  So, not so much a recipe as just putting foods together on a plate.


%d bloggers like this: