Sunday, May 8, 2011


In the garden this week:
Strong growing continues, helped along by rain (the 4th bed is damp enough to have produced a mushroom - ikkk) and sunshine.  Temperatures are still high enough for self seeded tomatoes to be growing.

Broadbeans are standing ~35cm tall.
Lots of 'micro herbs' growing, as are lots of micro weeds.  Some micro weeding is required.
With the dropping temperature, growing may slow in the following weeks.

Lettuce, spinach, parsley and coriander, basil harvested this week for recipes below.
And shared from friends and neighbours, half a pumpkin, quinces and persimmon - all very gratefully received.

In the kitchen this week - muchos confusion.
On Monday night, I watched the return of Masterchef, where there were drama and cooking aplenty.  I stood idle in my kitchen, until the flying frypans and food motivated me to pull out ingredients to make a cake I'd been thinking about since reading 'A Tiny Bit Marvellous' by Dawn French.  The book was ok but the recipes at the end looked pretty promising, particularly 'Mo's Beetroot Cake.'  I thought that this would be a lovely pink type cake and would push the memory of a less than successful Red Velvet cake that I made at Easter further towards the back of my mind:

Beetroot cake (with modifications due to limited ingredients in pantry/fridge):
180g sugar                         I used 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
180g plain flour
180g almond meal
50g cocoa powder
1 ts baking powder
pinch salt
200ml sour cream              I used 100ml sour cream, 100ml strawberry yoghurt
1 ts vanilla essence
200g grated beetroot         I used 1/2 a tin of beetroot, mashed up using a hand mixer.

Whisk eggs and sugar for 5 minutes (I did for about a minute - less height in cake due to using brown sugar and not whisking long enough)..
Add dry ingredients and beat to combine.
Beat in liquid ingredients and beetroot.
Pour into greased and papered cake tin and bake for 50 minutes.

But by the time this had finished cooking, 'The Biggest Loser Finale' had come on, and though it smelt gorgeous, eating cake, or more to the point, calorie consumption was not appealing.  Though I was happy it has veggies in it and could use it to get Trojan veggies into my son Troy (would be funny if that was his name..)

I started thinking that after an Easter of heavy chocolate consumption, attempting the emulate the rich food of Masterchef was probably an unwise choice.  I don't want to end up a waddling whale like George and Gary.  Borrowing out huge cook books from the library each week and perusing lots of food blogs may not be the way to go to avoid a further expanding waistline...

Then, I remembered a post from a while ago from regarding the 4 hour body diet:
Relooking through this info, I started formulating thoughts about better options than how I've been eating recently - lots of sandwiches, pasta, etc which are quick and easy and make the rest of the family happy. And me chubbier, despite running ~5km 6 days a week, pushing the baby in a pram...

The diet suggestions include:
  • Nothing white or what could be white - so no pasta, bread, potatoes etc
  • Replace white carbs with beans/lentils where possible
  • Eggs for breakfast
  • Eat whatever you want, one day a week, so your body can't get too used to the diet so that it can continue to work well and so that you get rid of any cravings and end up feeling sick and so strengthen your resolve to continue with the diet.
Considering the diet suggested and considering my current situation (breastfeeding mother) and not liking the idea of having a lot of beans (even baked beans for breakfast don't appeal to me) I formulated a diet to follow:
Breakfast: A banana, blueberry and yohgurt smoothie  (I've been doing this for a while, nice way to start the day.)
Snack: Apple or pear
Lunch: Eggs with tomato and spinach (eggs cooked up quickly in microwave..)
Snack: Cheese or yoghurt
Dinner: Meat with a salad/lentils
Snack: Cheese
And have a day off a week and eat whatever I want.

I'm adding in more meat than I have been eating, after waking up from a dream about porterhouse steak (I must be iron deficient) and also more dairy due to pitted nails but going gluten-free as much as possible.

In terms of lentils, I found the following recipes fast and tasty, recipes with modifications from www.thestonesoup ebook that you get when joining the blog, plus some others that I have used previously:

Lentil, beetroot and feta salad (similar to the popular beetroot and feta salad with lentils added):
Tin of lentils (rinsed and drained)
Tin of baby beets
Some feta, broken into small pieces
Handful of spinach
Mint, coriander, cumin
Balsamic vinegar and oil to dress salad

Throw together for a nice salad...

Chickpeas and Parmasen:
Tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Handful of spinach/lettuce (whatever is at hand)
Sprinkle of parmasen (or feta)
Spoonful of pesto

Again mixed together for a salad

Chickpeas and Rocket (I think that something like this might have been in a Nigella Lawson book):
Tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Chopped Onion
Handful of rocket
Spoonful of tomato paste
Dash of balsamic vinegar

Fry onion in some oil
Add chickpeas and tomato paste - heat through
Turn off heat and add rocket and vinegar to serve 

When my family was demolishing fish and chips, along side some grilled flake I had a salad like this:
Fennel and Pear Salad:
A small fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks, core removed
Pear cut into matchsticks
Thrown together with some lemon squeezed over the top.

It was yummy enough and tasted so healthy and crunchy that I didn't steal even one chip.
My sainthood must be in the mail now.

For a larger salad, with a big fennel bulb, this can be dressed up with some chopped almonds and a honey mayo dressing:
Egg yolk
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
125ml oil
Whisk together and drizzle...

These salads are quicker or as quick as knocking up some pasta, and pretty tasty so there was no excuse for me not to continue with the diet attempt..

After 5 days of following the diet, running as per usual, and adding in some pilates stomach tightening things into my daily exercise, I've lost ~1.5kg and 3cm from my middle - possibly the results of not being bloated from gluten - hopefully the trend down will continue....

I broke the diet today with Mother's Day lunch prepared by my husband - roast lamb with potatoes, etc, followed by chocolate pudding - yummo, and tea with macaroons for afters:

Macaroons - no gluten, lots of refined sugar though :)
300g Almond Meal
150g Icing sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons rose water (or to taste)
Icing sugar to dust

Beat eggs
Mix dry ingredients and then mix altogether
Kneed mix and roll into balls, then roll these in some sifted icing sugar to coat
Cook on baking paper covered tray in 180 degree oven for 20 mins.

I was further confused this week was due to a news story regarding the poor treatment of free range hens:
The video apparently taken in the Somerville Egg Farm shown on channel 10 was appalling, with the hens having no sunshine, no feathers, and minimal room to move, stacked to the roof, with some hens dead on the floor, no better than battery hens.  We hope this isn't the norm for free range animals, though could explain how, beyond just squeezing the farmer, Coles and Woolworths are able to sell free range eggs for $4/dozen.  We are also considering how a little chicken coup would go in our small place too...  Not sure how good I'd be at handling them - lots to think about.

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