Monday, 10 January 2011

Something fishy's going on...

It was my Dad’s 60th birthday at the weekend and since my mum and sister had cooked on Christmas day, I offered to do this one. I got most of my recipes from Nigel Slater’s new book, Tender v. 2, which my boss kindly bought me for Christmas. The book is really beautifully presented, and worth the price alone for the gorgeous photos. However it is chocful of wonderful ideas for growing and cooking fruit and nuts. Each fruit is dealt with separately, a little about the author’s own experience with growing the fruit, followed by a run through of some of the common garden varieties and then ideas for pairing the fruit with other flavours. The recipes follow after that. I already own the first volume of Tender, and found it invaluable as a source of ideas for flavour combinations. I haven’t cooked many of the recipes, but I have featured the pumpkin scone recipe a few times here. All in all, the books have made Nigel Slater my current favourite food writer because the books are about growing AND cooking- they cover the whole process, and they are both beautiful ‘coffee table’ books and yet full of information.
I used his measurements for the New Waldorf salad, but skipped the mayo dressing and made my own with the same herbs (mint and parsley) but with lemon and walnut oil. The salad was served with smoked mackerel, homemade toasted no knead bread and a horseradish crème fraiche with the fish.

For the main courses I did two dishes- a pork, perry and pear dish,

and a chicken, lemon, celery and grape dish, both from Tender v.2. I skipped this course (I don’t intend to expand my diet beyond eggs, dairy and fish).

Dessert was a hazelnut praline tiramisu

and a pudding cake of plum, honey and cinnamon (again from Tender v.2).

My piece today with a little yogurt. The cake tastes like ginger cake because of the dark treacley sugar.

Aside from the party, I did a bit more experimenting with fish over the weekend. I had a smoked salmon scrambled egg and salad breakfast,

and a Cornish yarg (type of artisan cheese), smoked salmon and apple sandwich for lunch on saturday.

This morning I was back to fruit and brown rice puffs and a big salad for lunch (although with some leftover mackerel) and dinner was stir fried leeks, portabello mushrooms and lots of collards with soy sauce, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. The photo is rubbish because I took it with my laptop cam as I'd left my phone in my car. The photo is really just here to prove I'm still eating all plant meals, but the photo is so bad, that could be beef rather than mushrooms!

I am finding my meals much more satisfying and my IBS continues to stay away despite the cheese and yogurt. Out of curiosity, I ‘nutritiondata’ed the smoked salmon scrambled egg breakfast and it came in at around 370 calories (58% fat, 23% protein, 19% carbs), about the same as a typical bowl of oatmeal and nut butter, but kept me full longer. The dish is a little high in salt but I didn’t add any and of course plenty of cholesterol which isn’t a big worry for me since I eat so little normally. I found myself eating a lot less carbs and sugar with the additional of these foods. I’ll be keeping a log of what I eat for the first while, something I usually do when I change my diet.

I haven't been exercising much, it's quite cold and wet here. Yuck. I have done some indoor cycling and weights, but that's the height of it. I can't get up early enough to go to the pool before work, and once I get home from work I just can't face going out again. I have been a few times at the weekend over the winter months, but that's it. And I haven't got up the Mourne mountains at all because every weekend I'm free the weather has been rubbish. We're hoping for this weekend! I hope I will have some nice photos of the mountains to show you at the weekend, as well as some winter picnic food.


  1. New book sounds great :)
    Love cook books and playing around with recipes. Cool that it is about growing as well as cooking.
    Happy New Year!

  2. That's so cool that your boss got you a cook book! Looks like you did an amazing job on all of the dishes! ...especially the desserts...yum! :) Glad you're still feeling well.

  3. Yes, I'm really lucky to work with such nice people- my boss who retired took me out for lunch before Christmas and the deputy of the guy who got me the cookbook gave me a really nice bottle of wine. Being a PA has its perks!
    Thankfully I'm completely back to good health- all the tests I had didn't reveal why I had pancreatitis- just some sort of freak thing.

  4. Yum, they all look delicious!

    I have to say, the low fibre diet didn't work for my IBS at all- it just increased my bloating and constipation. However, I've just started the low FODMAP diet- i've only been on it a couple of days and it's decreased my bloating already! It's a little limited but workable.

    I'm so happy that you've found an IBS diet that works for you. I think I'm finally getting there :) xxx

  5. Wow you've been eating it up fancy style!!! :)