Tag Archives: courgette

Lose weight AND exude methane in just two weeks!

Magazine diets are always good for a giggle. Nine out of ten weeks, Grazia will ask questions with meaningless answers, such as, ‘What body type are you?’ a) Tiger/b) Antelope/c) Bear. Or, ‘What kind of dieter are you?’ a) Hunter/b) Alpha/c) Feline. My favourite so far has to be, ‘What’s your diet temperature?’

When not asking inane questions, they’re fussing over the next super-régime, which will inevitably complicate cookery to such an extent that, while you’re on the diet wagon, your every waking thought will revolve around food.

Take the edition a couple of weeks ago, which boasted a 14-day pre-beach blitz, devised by none other than Lowri Turner, the shock-columnist who will opine on just about anything in order to stay in the limelight. Now, I can think of a lot of things to call Lowri Turner, but ‘nutritionist’ isn’t the first that springs to mind. Nevertheless, that’s how she was billed, having graduated from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in 2009.

With her new diet, LT has continued her unbroken run of consistently managing to enrage me. Clutching the pages of my magazine a little bit too hard, I simmered and stewed as I sat on the tube scanning her Beach Panic Diet.

Firstly, I wondered inwardly, would sane people really consider faffing about buying itty-bitty quantities of this and that – half a pepper, 50g of feta, 3 asparagus (do many asparagus become asparagi?) – to follow this dispiriting and underwhelming collection of uninspiring, badly-photographed dishes? Leaving a fridge full of festering perishables just before they go away?

Secondly, has anyone checked to see whether the average human being can survive eating six cauliflowers, 16 eggs and 12 egg whites in a fortnight without exploding? Is that what a degree in nutrition is all about – boldly going where no risk assessment experiment has gone before?

Lastly, and most perplexingly, why do nutritionists serve up so many inverted commas – why are they intent on making food ’food’ in disguise? Is it to avenge the lampooning of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith, the original Lady Muck, and her ‘credentials’?

Perhaps it’s another tao of Nutritionism. If so, Lowri has certainly embraced it – with her ‘noodles’, ‘hummus’, ‘fettucine’, ‘pizza’, ‘bread’, ‘rice’ and ‘couscous’, she’s really ‘spoiling’ us. (Editor’s note: as ‘rice, and ‘couscous’ should all be read as courgette, so ‘spoiling’ should be more accurately translated as torturing…)

If you’re a cauliflower and egg devotee, good for you – get your Beach Panic freak on. Wrap your chops around ‘magic microwave bread’. Feast on vanilla whey protein powder. Munch plain, unseasoned, dry-fried squid rings with strips of courgette. Forget the actual hummus you used to enjoy and simply exist on pretend ‘hummus’! 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Five a day the naughty way

Ever since my turbo-gastro-weekend with the sensitive gluttons, when we indulged in a cake threesome, not 24 hours have passed in which I haven’t thought wistfully of the perfect match that courgettes and hazelnuts make.

Unfortunately, my gastronomic personality in these matters is an unsavoury combination: a handful of stubbornness mixed with a pinch of stinge, simmered with lashings of greed. Because of this, if I can make the same cake as the one we enjoyed in that café and serve myself a larger portion of it at home for half the price, the likelihood of me returning to the Northcote Road is as slim as I was – before the cake, that is.

Unable to wait for the seasons to catch up with me, I got down to the marrow of my nutty summer squash confection this weekend. I added my own touches – a splash of Frangelico here to liven things up (plus a drop or two in the cake), a smothering of full-fat hazelnut frosting there – and voilà. For artistic purposes, I just had to cut an XXL slice:

Courgette and hazelnut cake

Get that five-a-day feelgood factor

Had my concern for your vicarious viewing pleasure not taken over, I would have allowed temptation to have its wicked way with me before, during and after the photo session. Somehow I managed to restrain myself long enough to take this photo, and my patience paid off – the cake was a healthy yet hedonistic treat, and so moist you could hear the fork bite into it. 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Give us this day our daily bread, our first Le Creuset and an invitation to a posh meal out

A fantastic foodie day, nay – weekend.

Friday night: baked homemade sourdough bread for the first time, then lamented that it had taken me until so late in life to get around to doing such a ludicrously easy and smugly satisfying thing. The friends I’d invited over for dinner mistook me for a domestic goddess because, due to a hectic week that had led me to put off the baking again and again, the timing of the freshly baked bread coming out of the oven coincided exactly with their arrival. I insisted that it was my first time and by no means a regular occurrence, but they swatted away my protestations as modesty. Hey ho, goddess it is then. We sliced it and dipped it in homemade pesto as a starter and it was heaven.

Saturday am: spolit said friends by whipping up scrambled eggs on sourdough toast for breakfast. They’re sensitive gluttons – unwilling to resist delicious food but equally unwilling to think about what devilish ingredients have made it so damn edible. So I hid diligently in the kitchen to pour in the tub of cream and coax the eggs to fluffy perfection. The sensitive gluttons only saw the cold knob of butter being stirred in at the end and so enjoyed the finished dish unquestioningly. The sourdough made great toast too.

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