Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday 30 April - A visit to Petaluma

Started the day off with yet another Noah's bagel (sun-dried tomato again) with cream cheese schmear and a banana.

I had picked up some tempeh in the Albertson's. I love it and L&M had never tired it, so I set it marinating. Like tofu, tempeh does not have a lot of taste on it's own, but it has an interesting texture, being made with whole soya beans and a bit more taste as it is fermented. I mixed some white wine, soy, ginger and brown sugar and add the tempeh, cut into strips. Normally, I would add garlic & chillies as well, but not this time due to Lyn's IBS.

Then we set off to drive down to Petaluma to visit L&M's friend Butch & Ricky. They have a nice house on a bit of land, set off in a bit of an out of the way location. It was a nice drive down, along the San Pablo Bay for a lot of the way.

Poodles Sherry & Tommy had a good romp around the yard and managed to get themselves TOTALLY covered in burrs & hitchhikers in the process. Lots of combing out followed and they were both pouffy as could be after.

Butch & Ricky share their beautiful home with an assortment of cats, so I had plenty of opportunities to pat, stroke, cuddle and cajole felines before lunch. Lyn & I had carted down a big cooler full of salad fixings, so we prepared a huge salad - lettuces, herbs, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, apple, bit of grated cheese, seeds, and some broken up tortilla chips as croutons - all sorts! It was pretty damn good. Butch had made a gorgeous focaccia with rosemary & sun-dried tomatoes of top, too - it was all I could do to restrain myself from eating half of it. He also produced some homemade brownies for afters - all very yummy and in excellent company yet again.

Back at home, had the tempeh for dinner. I stir fried it in the marinade until the marinade was reduced down to a glaze and served it on a bed of lettuce, mint, corinader, finely sliced shallots and spring onions. Michael whipped up a mixed squash & sweet potato bake to go with and we chowed down. Pleased to say L&M liked their first encounter with tempeh!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday 29 April - Dalai Lama!

Up early today and excited - going to hear the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speak to the San Francisco Civic centre!

Had a breakfast of cantaloupe, scrambled eggs and Noah's bagel (sun-dried tomato today with veggie schmear and onion and chive schmear) .

Just getting ready to head into town when we heard on the news that there had been a
collapse of a section highway at the 80/580/980 interchange. We had been planning to drive to the BART station and take the train into San Francisco, but now we were all in a frenzy to get moving EARLY as the highway collapse was bound to cause disruption.

So we all hustled into the car and set off, but the road was actually surprisingly empty and in the end, we drove all the way into San Francisco and park opposite the Westfield Centre.

Had a browse around the shops before opting for an early lunch at "Out the Door", an offshoot of the acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant, "The Slanted Door" in the Ferry Building , touted as the best Asian Restaurant in San Francisco. "Out the Door" is designed to be more casual and offers meals to take away as well as a cook shop .

The food was fabulous! We started off with vegetarian Imperial Rolls which were crispy spring rolls, stuffed with taro root, cabbage, glass noodles and peanuts & served with mint & lettuce wrap. For mains we had their Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms, onions and chili sauce (Lyn's favourite) and Daikon (white radish) Cake with with shiitake mushrooms and shallots . I have not had white radish cake in ages - not since I was in Thailand or Indonesia and I had forgotten how much I like it. Must try to make some when I get home! Chef Charles Phan is terrific and I am an "Out the Door" convert.

From lunch we wandered down to the Civic Centre and got settled in to hear the Dalai Lama speak. There was a bit of a contretemps when he first appeared - a man emerged from the audience brandishing an apple (?!?) which he wanted the Dalai Lama to eat. I was impressed that the Dalai Lama was completely fearless of the man and approached him to accept the apple, before security staff intervened and hustled the man off. Not sure WHAT that was all about, but from there the talk proceeded smoothly. The Dalai Lama delivered a somewhat meandering address with the aid of an interpreter who assisted him with his English from time to time, but I was very impressed with his humour and warmth.
I found this article later on about the apple incident:
After the talk we mooched around a bit, wandering through the Yerba Buena Gardens before popping into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a quick look around.

Yerba Buena Gardens and SFMOMA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

It was nice to see San Francisco again after so many years, even if she did look a little tired and worn around the edges in some places, like a lot of urban centres in the US.

Back home, we opted for a quick and easy supper at the end of a long day and I made a salad which we ate along with some flatbread pizza from The American Flatbread Pizza Company. Very nice they were, too.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday 28 April - A walk in Point Pinole

Started the day with some delicious, home-made-from-scratch pancakes, courtesy of Mike. Had them with some butter, maple syrup & more delicious California strawberries.

Lounged about for a bit, snacking on some Trader Joe's air popped popcorn and then had a small salad of broccoli slaw with tomato, soy sauce & rice vinegar before heading off for a nice long walk in Point Pinole.

Mount Tamalpais from Point Pinole

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline is a regional park in Richmond, CA. It is the site of many defunct dynamite & explosives factories, the remains of which are still dotted about in the forest. It was great strolling along the shore line with the dogs and L&M. Saw some nice sea birds and plenty of wildflowers - there is also a nice view of Mount Tamalpais, the name of which always puts me in mind of the song "Tamalpais High (At About 3)" by David Crosby. Clocked up about 4 miles, according to the pedometer, so a reasonable walk.

Had a little look around Parchester Village on the way back, a planned community that never really took off when locals found out if was planned to be racially mixed. It ended up as a more or less all black gated community, although from what I have read recently, it now also has a fair sized Latino community.

Anyway, had to get home and neighbours Henny & Priscilla were coming over for dinner. We had a delicious spread. Made some guacamole for a starter (one without garlic for Lyn, who suffers from IBS) and Henny & Priscilla brought some delicious marinated olives and cheeses. We noshed through these with some yummy soy & linseed tortilla chips (also from Trader Joe's) before settling into the main course, cooked my Mike with me acting as sous chef and salad maker. Lyn & I picked up some sea bass and prawns in the market and Mike quick sauteed them with mushroom, white wine, butter and herbs. The fish was accompanied by some brown rice and a massive salad, along with a selection of breads. Then for afters we had angel food cake with a sauce provided by Henny & Priscilla (strawberry & orange with honey) and some Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream. All washed down with lashings and lashings of wine - far too much! But a lovely evening in great company, anyway.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday 27 April - Blow out Mexican lunch

Mike made us a breakfast of scrambled eggs (part whole eggs and part egg whites) which I ate along with a toasted Asiago cheese bagel from Noah's bagels. We stopped into Noah's yesterday and loaded up on 2 dozen varied bagels, garden veggie cream cheese, onion & chive cream cheese, low fat cream cheese etc. I had some garden veggie with my bagel.

After breakfast I wandered around a little strip mall and checked out the shops while L&M went to the chiropractor. I had a scoop of Tin Roof Sundae ice cream from Baskin Robbins and wandered around the mall.

Had a look at the Trader Joe's shop in the mall - really nice stuff! We popped back in after L&M were done and got some more food.

Also popped into Pets Mart and - they had SPARKLE BALLS! Ages ago, I bought a bag of assorted cat toys off eBay. One of the toys was a sparkle ball or glitter ball, which Kaspar loved.

He played with it tirelessly until finally, he wore all the glitter off it. His favourite game with it is fetch - he brings me the ball, I throw it for him, he brings me the ball - lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, after lots of rough and tumble and many retrievals from under the fridge, sparkle ball finally died a death. Kaspar was most disappointed.

I picked up a laser pointer, too. After playing with Monkey & Cassie with their laser, I knew my guys would love one, too. It says on the card "more fun than chasing your own tail".

OK, so I bought a few things, but they are for the kitties, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Who's a happy kitty, then?

We had a late lunch at a local Mexican restaurant called La Montana. It was an innocuous looking place in a little strip mall, but the food was very good. I had an ENORMOUS margarita which Mike ordered for me (go own, twist my arm). Noshed on tortilla chips and salsa, then cheese stuffed jalapenos. For main course I had a combination platter which comprised a chile rellenos, a veggie soft taco and a prawn soft taco. I picked at the rice & beans, but there was so much food it really barely touched them. There were also nice crunchy pickled carrots and lots of pickled jalapenos.

I was so stuffed, I felt like I was going to explode. Could not wait to get home and get into some loose trousers!

Anyway, after that blow out, dinner was not required. L&M were wiped pretty early, but I sat up and watched some telly. I did snack on some seasoned edamame soy beans in the pod which we picked up in Trader Joe's, along with a couple of glasses of wine.

Here are a couple of links:

Noah's Bagels

Trader Joe's

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday 26 April - Trying not to shop in the land of shopping!

Woke up at about 4AM and laid in bed for a while before finally giving in and getting up.

Went downstairs and ate a punnet of strawberries that we had picked up the night before in Albertson's. Two large (454g) boxes for $3.00. Bargain! Then spent a good hour or so trying to figure out how to make coffee before I finally found a drip pot which led me to look for filters which I eventually found. Trying to be quiet so as not to disturb L&M who are having a lie in. Also rustled up a bagel I found in the fridge. Did some work on the website DB while they slept.

Later, had a ½ a melon with L&M when they awoke.

Lunch was ½ bag of broccoli slaw and a tomato dressed with some rice vinegar & soy sauce. Also ate a couple of string cheese packs which L&M use as dog training treats (!) and an couple nice wholemeal crackers and three fat dill pickles.

I had resolved to eat my favourite US snack food as well, so we had purchased a big bag of Cheetos's and I ate about ½ the pack with some hot pickled chili's I had also picked up in the supermarket.

Spent most of the day catching up and tooling around the various shops in the malls surrounding where L&M live. I am trying REALLY hard not to buy things. I will NOT buy anything that I have no need for, no matter what a bargain it appears. I have way to much stuff already.

Having said that, I am still on the lookout for things I "need" that I did not get in New York:

a laptop case
a swimsuit
some trainers (maybe)
a memory stick for Fiona (she was impressed w the price I paid for mine in NYC)

Looked at lots of stuff, but all I bought was the memory stick - 2GB for $25.00. It was, of course, made in China, too.

After a hard day of commerce , Mike cooked and we had sauteed sea scallops, brown rice & steamed asparagus on the patio by the pool, all washed down with way too much wine and loads of talk.

Here is the animal crew:





Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday 25 April - California, here I come...

Started off with a couple slice of High Malt bread and some Korean chili paste (Doenjang) with my coffee.

Then, off to the airport en route to San Francisco.

Heathrow Terminal Three Lounge

At Heathrow, check in and make a bee-line for Business Class lounge where I stuff my face with usual junk. As I sat and fiddled with the laptop I managed to eat:
1 25g pack sour cream & chive pretzel nuggets
2 25g packs of salted pretzels
2 25g pack of cheese biscuits
1 bag Walker's BBQ crisps
1 25g pack stem ginger biscuits
1 Bloody Mary
2 Vodka & Slimline (why do I bother with diet tonic when I am stuffing my gob with garbage?)

I almost never eat stuff like this, when when I go to the airport, it seem to be de rigeur.

Anyway, on the plane I had United's vegetarian meal which was some sort of vegetable bake, a small portion of salad and 2 Ryvita with a little tub of strawberry ice cream and a Frusli cereal bar for afters.

I also ate another pack of pretzels, another pack of 2 Stem Ginger biscuits, a pack of 2 Chocolate Chip biscuits & a pack of 2 Oatflake & Honey biscuits which I had in my bag from the airport lounge. Why all the sugar all of a sudden?

During the flicks, United offered a mini Toblerone and a Walker's shortbread finger, which I duly scoffed.

Not the greatest of all flights. Unpleasant to say, but the woman who sat next to me had THE worst halitosis EVER. It was truly vile. We were in bulk head seats and she was pfaffing about because she could not find the tray table, TV screen etc. I helped her out, but after we were talking for a few minutes I could not stand the smell. Finally, I asked her if she was on Atkins and - surprise! she was. Unfortunately, she asked me how I knew and I had to tell her it was because her breath was so rank. Me and my big mouth. But honestly, it was so bad you could smell it even when her mouth was closed. The smell of ketosis just leaked from every pore of her body.

I pretended to sleep on plane and touched down suitably haggard.

First trip to California in 12 years!

L&M met me at the airport and we headed back to the ranch, with a pitstop at the Albertson's Supermarket on the way. Nothing like wandering the aisles of a massive, suburban American supermarket while you are in jet lag mode. Miles and miles of aisles.....

At Casa L&M, I met Tommy & Sherry (standrad poodles!) and Monk & Cassie (moggettes).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dinner Tuesday 24 April - The venerable bede (aka Stir Steam)

Well, I have blogged the Stir Steam so many times it has whiskers now, but here is today's selection:

50g mange tout
100g sugar snap peas
50g baby corn
1 carrot
110g prawns
4 spring onions

Thanks to Phantom Planet for a great song.

Lunch Tuesday 24 April - Left over Matar Paneer & Herb Salad

I am getting into "going away" mode, so no new foods in house and just working my way through what's in the fridge.

Lately, I have become addicted to herbs salads and have one just about every day. So, thought I would show you one and share the "recipe"

Herb Salad
150g Romaine lettuce
50g wild rocket
50g spinach
large handful fresh dill
large handful fresh basil
large handful fresh parsley
large handful fresh chives
spray olive oil
spray balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Toss all the leaves together, mist with olive oil & vinegar, season lightly and dig in.

I bought my oil mister from Lakeland ages ago and it is one of my best kitchen investments. It is a pump action mister and refillable, so now chucking it in the landfill, either.

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 69.7
Carbohydrate (g) 7.3
Protein (g) 6.1
Fat (g) 1.7
Fibre (g) 4.0

So, had a Herb Salad and the left over Matar Paneer

Breakfast Tuesday 24 April - Egg Mayo on High Malt bread

Had exactly the same start to the day as yesterday - two slices of the High Malt loaf with one egg, some mayonnaise and cress.

Don't seem to have taken a picture of the High Malt loaf, which is sort of too bad as it was really pretty as well as tasty.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dinner Monday 23 April - Leftover Celeriac & Potato Bake

An instant replay of Lunch Sunday 22 April.

Lunch Monday 23 April - Clean Out the Veggie Drawers Soup

Clean Out the Veggie Drawers Soup
1 onion, chopped (150g)
200g celery, chopped
200g pointed cabbage, chopped
1 pointed red pepper, chopped
185g carrots, chopped
1 fat vine tomato, chopped (about 150g)
1 can cannellini beans
½ litre vegetable stock
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
handful fresh parsley

Well, I am off on my travels again so time to clear out some veggies from the crisper drawers

It's soup - simple. Chop everything up, cover with stock, simmer until cooked. Puree or not, as you like (I did not). Add beans and parsley, heat through and EAT!

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 455.3
Carbohydrate (g) 76.7
Protein (g) 30.4
Fat (g) 3.7
Fibre (g) 29.5

Breakfast Monday 23 April - Egg Mayonnaise on High Malt Bread

Made a new loaf last night and decided to use up the last of a jar of malt syrup. Gotta say, it turned out to be a really nice loaf - very light. Not sure if it was the extra malt syrup of what, but it was a tasty load anyway.

Started my week with two slices of High Malt bread with egg mayo & cress.

High Malt Bread
100g malt extract
20g demerara sugar
10g dried yeast
200ml warm water
1 large, free range, organic egg
200g very strong white bread flour
250g strong wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the water with the malt extract, sugar and yeast and leave to bloom.

When yeast as bloomed, add the egg, salt and wholemeal flour and beat into a batter/sponge. Leave the sponge to rise for about 1 hour.

Beat down the sponge and add the white flour. Knead well and leave to rise again until doubled in bulk.

Beat down, knead and rise once more. Then form into a loaf and place in a 2lb bread tin. Leave to rise one final time before baking in a hot oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the bottom sound hollow when tapped.

Makes one 800g loaf
Approx 2.5g calories per gram

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dinner Sunday 22 April - Colcannon Cakes

Colcannon Cakes
250g white potatoes
2 tablespoons cream
3 spring onions, finely sliced
60g cabbage, steamed and finely chopped

Boil the potatoes and mash with the cream. Season with salt & pepper, then fold in the cabbage & spring onions.

Form into two (or more) cakes. Fry in a non-stick skillet spritzed with oil for about 10 minutes on either side, until they are golden brown.

I had these with 80g each of peas and carrots.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 318.3
Carbohydrate (g) 54.2
Protein (g) 11.2
Fat (g) 6.9
Fibre (g) 9.6

Lunch Sunday 22 April - Celeriac & Potato Bake

Celeriac & Potato Bake
½ a celeriac (about 450g), cut into dice
same amount of white potatoes, cut into dice
½ red pepper, chopped (about 60g)
½ green pepper, chopped (about 60g)
1 pint vegetable stock
3 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons single cream
65g grated Cheddar cheese

Steam the celeriac & potato dice for about 5 minutes, until they are just cooked.

Meanwhile make a cheesy veloute. Combine the veggie stock with the cornflour and bring to the boil, stirring all the while. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add 3/4 of the grated cheese & all cream, stirring all the while until the cheese melts.

Ad the celeriac, potatoes and peppers to the sauce and combine. Season well with alt & plenty of pepper. Turn into a casserole dish and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top.

Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes, until the top is browned & bubbling.

I had this with a bundle of fresh asparagus.

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 494.7
Carbohydrate (g) 73.9
Protein (g) 17.5
Fat (g) 15.7
Fibre (g) 7.6

Breakfast Sunday 22 April - Apple & Crisprolls

I bought some Viktoria Swedish crisprolls in Ikea last Sunday, so had a couple of them with a Yakult and a nice crispy Red Delicious apple.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dinner Saturday 21 April - Tin 'o Beans

Not really hungry in the evening, after the massive plate of fish has for a late (ish) lunch, so I just heated up a can of baked beans and ate beans for my dinner.

Very Blazing Saddles...

Lunch Saturday 21 April - Fish Hash

Fish Hash
240g white potatoes, parboiled and cut into small dice
1 onion, chopped (140g)
½ red pepper, chopped
1 Marmara type spicy green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g white fish fillets, cooked

Spray a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, onions and garlic and saute over low heat for about 20 minutes without stirring.

When browned, turn the hash and cook for another 20 minutes on the other side until browned.

Crumble in the white fish and warm through, Season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed chillis, if you like them.

I had this with a serving of steamed broccoli.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 395.1
Carbohydrate (g) 56.9
Protein (g) 35.7
Fat (g) 3.1
Fibre (g) 10.2

Breakfast Saturday 21 April - Dragon Fruit

More luscious dragon fruit to start the day...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dinner Friday 20 April - Matar Paneer

Matar Paneer
100g petit pois
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 onion, about 135g
2 fat, vine tomatoes, about 300g
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces water
1 pack (8 ounces) ready made paneer for home made equivalent

Chop the onions finely. Peel, deseed and chop the tomatoes.
Add the oil to a heavy frying pan. Add the onions and cook until browned. Add the tomatoes and cook until they have been reduced to a pulp, about 10 mins. Now add the garlic and all the spices, seasonings and sugar. Add 1/2 the water, cover and cook over low heat for about 10 mins. Add the rest of the water and the peas. Cover and cook for a further 10 mins. Then add the paneer, cut into small cubes. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. The paneer should absorb most of the liquid in the pan, leaving a fairly dry curry. Serve with rice or paratha.

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 541.9
Carbohydrate (g) 21.9
Protein (g) 30.5
Fat (g) 37.1
Fibre (g) 4.6

I had never noticed ready made paneer before, so I popped this the basket without really looking at it. Turns out, it is incredibly rich compared the the paneer I make myself. Next time, I will know!

Lunch Friday 20 April - Tortellini with Creamy Basil & Tomato Sauce

Tortellini with Creamy Basil & Tomato Sauce
1 large tomato, deseeded and diced (about 150g)
handful fresh basil leaves
20g grated Parmesan cheese
1 portion of Veloute sauce
1/2 pack (210g cooked) sun dried tomato & Scamorza cheese tortellini

Back in January, I got these tortellini in Sainsburys. I ate the mushroom ones at the time, but the sun dried tomato & Scamorza cheese ones have been in the freezer, so I figured it was time they got eaten up.

I had some plain veloute sauce leftover, so I added some fresh tomato chunks, basil & Parmesan and used it as a sauce.

I found these tortellini disappointing, too. I tried one on it's own and it was pretty tasteless. I could not taste the smokiness of the Scamorza at all. Anyway, with the sauce they were OK, but another one I don't think I would try again. In fact, I chucked out the other half of the pack.

Basic Plain Veloute Sauce
1 pint vegetable stock
2 tablespoon cornflour
4 tablespoon single cream (30ml)
salt & white pepper to taste

Mix together the vegetable stock and cornflower. Cook over low heat, stirring all the while, until thickened. Add the cream. Check the seasoning and serve.

Breakfast Friday 20 April - Strawberries

Got a nice, big box of berries for breakfast, along with my coffee.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dinner Thursday 19 April - Haddock & Prawn Pie

Haddock & Prawn Pie
200g haddock fillets, skinless & boneless
100g prawns
75g petit pois
1 portion Herb Veloute

250g boiled potato
2 tablespoons cream

Cut the haddock in 1" cubes and combine with the prawns, peas & veloute sauce. Season well and pout into a small casserole dish.

Mash the potatoes with the cream and plenty of whit pepper. top the pie with the mashed potatoes and bake in a moderate oven until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, around 40 minutes.

I had this with about 70g each broccoli & carrot, steamed.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 617.4
Carbohydrate (g) 53.7
Protein (g) 80.0
Fat (g) 10.1
Fibre (g) 8.4

Lunch Thursday 19 April - Celeriac & Apple Soup

Celeriac & Apple Soup
½ a celeriac (about 400g)
1 Granny Smith apple (about 135g)
1 onion (about 135g)
½ litre vegetable stock
30 ml single cream
fresh snipped chives to garnish

Core the apple and cut into chunks. Peel & trim the celeriac and cut into similar sized chunks. Peel and chop the onion.

Combine in a pot and cover with the vegetable stock. Simmer over low heat until soft, then liquidise. Add the cream, correct the seasonings and serve garnished with chives.

Makes 1 large serving (2 bowls)

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 338.2
Carbohydrate (g) 64.5
Protein (g) 9.5
Fat (g) 7.1
Fibre (g) 12.0

Breakfast Thursday 19 April - Oops...

Naughty me - no brekkie today, just coffee. Got engrossed in something else and forgot all about it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dinner Wednesday 18 April - Roasty Roots!

Roasty Roots
200g celeriac
2 carrots
1 medium sweet potato (about 150g)
½ butternut squash (about 300g)
1 red onion (about 180g)
3 cloves garlic

Another old favourite. Cut cut everything into even sized pieces, spritz with a little olive oil season and roast in a moderate hot oven.

Had these with
200g runner beans, steamed

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 441.8
Carbohydrate (g) 99.6
Protein (g) 13.8
Fat (g) 2.8
Fibre (g) 21.7

Lunch Wednesday 18 April - Apple & Chicory Salad with Cheese

Apple & Chicory Salad with Cheese
1 Red Delicious apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1 head chicory, shredded
handful flat leaf parsley

Toss all ingredients together and dress with

20g Manuka honey
juice 1 lime
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Line a plate with

1 bag mixed salad leaves (about 100g)

Pile salad on top and garnish with

30g grated cheddar (I used ½ fat)

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 380.4
Carbohydrate (g) 37.6
Protein (g) 12.5
Fat (g) 20.3
Fibre (g) 6.1

Breakfast Wednesday 18 April - Dragon Fruit

Got a nice deal on some Dragon Fruit in Chapel Market, so had two for breakfast.

There is a real "black & white" thing going on here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dinner Tuesday 17 April - Asparagus Fusilli

Asparagus Fusilli

Another old standby. Recipe here, if you are interested.

Lunch Tuesday 17 April - Grapefruit, Fennel & Prawn Salad

Grapefruit, Fennel & Prawn Salad
½ grapefruit, separated into segments
1 head fennel, shredded (about 225g)
110g prawns
handful coriander leaves

Combine grapefruit, fennel, coriander and prawns then pour over a dressing made of

juice 1 lime
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
20g Manuka honey

Combine gently but throughly. Allow to stand for 20-30 minutes, then serve on a bed of Romaine lettuce leaves.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 319.7
Carbohydrate (g) 27.4
Protein (g) 19.1
Fat (g) 15.0
Fibre (g) 6.8

Breakfast Tuesday 17 April - Levy's Rye with Dairylea!

OK, so probably not Kosher, but Lisa had mentioned that she liked Kraft Dairylea, so I thought I would give it a try on some toast.

Not bad - creamy & salty if a bit bland.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lunch Monday 16 April - Sweet Potato with Arame

Sweet Potato with Arame
10g dried shredded arame, soaked in hot water and cut into bit sized pieces
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 150g)
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar

Combine the mirin, soy & sugar with about 4 tablespoons of the arame soaking water.

Place the sweet potato & arame in a non stick skillet and pout over the sauce. Simmer over low heat until sweet potato is cooked, about 5-7 minutes. The sauce should be reduced to a syrup. Watch carefully, as mirin is prone to burning.

Sprinkle with gomasio and serve.

Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 267.3
Carbohydrate (g) 53.3
Protein (g) 7.2
Fat (g) 0.4
Fibre (g) 9.8

Gomasio is made by combining sesame seeds and salt. You can buy it ready made, but why bother - it is very simple to make. Just grind toasted sesame seeds together with salt in your preferred ratio. I like a mix of regular and black sesame, combined 3:1 with salt.

Had this with a massive herb salad.

Dinner Monday 16 April - Udon with Prawns & Vegetables

Udon with Prawns & Vegetables
1 pack instant Udon soup
100g prawns
50g sugar snap peas, cut into bit sized pieces
1 carrot, finely sliced
3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

7 Spice Pepper to garnish

I fancied something quick, light & simple, so this came to mind. It is just one of those instant udon noodle soups with some carrot, sugar snaps and prawns chucked in, then garnished with spring onion and 7 spice.

Easy peasy.

Breakfast Monday 16 April - Levy's Jewish Rye Toast and coffee

Had a loaf I brought back from NYC in the freezer, so had a couple of slices of Levy's with my coffee.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dinner Sunday 15 April - A Wagamama experiment

30g rice noodles (I had rice slices)
200g broccoli
1 red pepper, sliced
100g prawns
3-4 spring onions, slivered
½ jar Wagamama Chilli Men sauce

OK, this is another "I had a coupon" situation. Wagamama restaurants had recently launched a range of bottled sauces, so I tried the Chilli Men (I suppose they mean mein) sauce.

I used the sauce with some rice noodles, steamed broccoli & peppers and prawns.

Gotta say, it was not up to much. Not something I would buy again; too bland for my tastes (especially for something labelled "chilli").

Lunch Sunday 15 April - Potato & Bean Salad

Went to visit a mate who is following the Lighter Life diet (meal replacements), so I packed up the second helping of yesterday's Potato & Bean Salad to take along as she has no food in the house.

Sat in the garden and ate before heading to Ikea. Ikea on a Sunday - what were we thinking?

Breakfast Sunday 15 April - Pomegranate

Started the day with a pomegranate plus toast & coffee.
Apparently Jesus (pictured above) also like pomegranates.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dinner Saturday 14 April - Prawn & Asparagus Egg Drop Soup

Prawn & Asparagus Egg Drop Soup
½ litre fish stock
100ml Shao Shing wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 thumb ginger, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
100g asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
100g prawns
1 large, free range organic egg
½ teaspoon sesame oil
4 spring onions, sliced finely

Simmer the fish stock, wine, soy, garlic & ginger together, covered, over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add the asparagus and simmer for a further 3-5 minutes, until asparagus is just tender. Drop in the prawns.

Beat the egg together with the sesame oil and add to the soup. Do not stir!

Cover and leave to stand for about 5 minutes for the egg to cook in the hot broth. Stir in the shredded spring onions and serve.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 304.8
Carbohydrate (g) 17.4
Protein (g) 31.3
Fat (g) 12.4
Fibre (g) 3.7

Lunch Saturday 14 April - Potato & Bean Salad

Potato & Bean Salad

1 can pinto beans, drained (235g)
300g boiled new potatoes (I used Anya)
160g runner beans
4-5 spring onions, slivered
1 Mamara type spicy green pepper, cut into strips

Combine all ingredients. Make a dressing of:

25g Manuka honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
25g Dijon mustard
juice of 1 ½ limes
salt & pepper to taste

and combine with vegetable mixture. Allow to stand 20 -30 minute for flavours to develop before serving.

I had this on a bed of spinach & flat leaf parsley.

Makes 2 servings
Nutrition Data per serving
Calories (kcal) 387.6
Carbohydrate (g) 61.8
Protein (g) 14.7
Fat (g) 10.1
Fibre (g) 10.7

Breakfast Sat 14 April - Toast & coffe

Now you know what I had for brekkie, compliments of the world's most boring blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dinner Friday 13 April - Sweet & Sour Prawns

Sweet & Sour Prawns
1 garlic
1 thumb ginger
1 red & 1 green chilli
1 red onion (about 115g), sliced
1/2 red pepper (about 80g), sliced
1/2 green pepper (about 80g), sliced
1/2 orange pepper (about 80g), sliced
100g cooked king prawns
2 tablespoon Shao Shing

4 spring onions

3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
100 ml orange juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Shao Shing
1 tablespoon cornflour

Spray a non stick wok with a little oil and heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chillis, peppers and red onion and stir fry over high heat until wilted. Add the Shao Shing to cool the wok when it gets too hot.

Meanwhile, mix together all of the sauce ingredients. When the vegetables are nearly cooked, pour in the sauce mixture and bring to the boil. Finally, add the prawns and cook for another 2 minutes, just to heat the prawns through. The sauce should be thickened and glossy.

Add the spring onions and toss through. Serve with jasmine rice.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 531.6
Carbohydrate (g) 100.4
Protein (g) 30.2
Fat (g) 2.4
Fibre (g) 10.0

Lunch Friday 13 April - Stir Fried Asparagus & Kumara "Chips"

I had some Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" Kumara sweet potatoes, which seem to be an antipodean thing.

Hey - they even have their own website!

Kumara Sweet Potato

Anyway, I cut one into chunky chips, spritzed it with a little olive oil and baked the chips in the oven on a fairly high heat until cooked - slightly more than cooked, actually!

Had this with some of my home made catsup and a stir fry of ½ a red pepper, ½ a red onion and 200g of asparagus.

Nutrition Data
Calories (kcal) 329.0
Carbohydrate (g) 60.7
Protein (g) 9.9
Fat (g) 12.9
Fibre (g) 8.2

Breakfast Friday 13 April - Toast and coffee

After last night's excesses, breakfast was confined to some toast with Patum Peperium Gentleman's Relish and lashings of coffee.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dinner Thursday 12 April - Ah So!

Met up with Marcel and we had a few drinks and ended up having Japanese food in the embarrassingly named Ah-So Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant & Bar.

The name might be a bit cringe-worthy, but the food was excellent and the teppanyaki "theatre" was great after (and with) a few drinks. We had some sake cocktails (I had a sake margarita) and a LOT of food.

Started out with a selection of sushi, sashimi and tempura. The menu is wide ranging and pretty varied. The main course is structured so that you sort of choose "one from column A and one from column B" and then the teppanyaki chef cooks your food to order on the teppanyaki grill, while you all sit around him at a U-shaped bar and enjoy the show.

We selected tuna, sea bass, prawns and squid along with asparagus, baby corn, courgettes & onions. It was all just lightly, quickly and showily sauteed on the teppanyaki grill with a bit of soy and some seasoning and it was delicious. Watching the chef make egg fried rice was a hoot as he tossed the egg (in its shell) into the air, caught it in his chef's hat, tossed it back out and caught it on the edge of the cleaver etc. He also very kindly made me an additional spicy sauce when I told him how much I enjoyed chillis - it was chillis, garlic, coriander, soy & fish sauces and it was very nice (if a bit Thai for a Japanese restaurant).

For afters, we had the house special dessert with is fruit sauteed and flambeed on the teppanyaki grill and "fried" ice cream - which is exactly what it sounds like. Some ice cream is melted along with butter, brandy sugar and orange juice. This forms the sauce. The chef then deftly carved out the orange segments and sauteed them with banana, apple & strawberries before adding more ice cream (not melted!) and assembling the entire thing on a plate. A very indulgent mix of hot and cold, along with some wonderful fruit flavours.

A fun night and excellent food - recommended!

Ah-So Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant & Bar
206 Upper Street
N1 1RQ
Tel 020 7704 1890