Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Yesterday afternoon I was invited to leave work early by my boss and took it upon myself to walk the entire 4 miles home. The weather was horrendously humid and as I plodded through some of the less salubrious parts of West London my hunger built and built. I knew I was heading home to a lovely, if excessivly virtuous, meal of seabass, broccoli and green beans, but I was passing cafes that smelt of chips and crispy, cheesey lasagne and my thoughts were becoming less and less pure.
I knew I was getting obsessive when I passed a poster advertising McDonalds cheeseburgers and let out an involuntary groan of desire. From that point onwards (around mile 2 checkpoint), I compiled my ultimate, wickedest, most indulgent dinner. Now when I say indulgent I don't mean the best, most lovely things I have ever eaten, I mean the dirty, nasty food that has literally no nutritional value but tastes like total and complete awesomeness.
So I already knew that I had to include McDonald's cheeseburgers in this meal, and for me they MUST be dipped in barbeque sauce. Initially I thought maybe 4 cheeseburgers would be manageable but when I considered accompaniments I came unstuck. Mcdonalds fries are alright, but when you really need a carby, salty fix you cannot whack chippy-chips, I reduced my plan to 3 cheeseburgers. Chippy-chips must be doused liberally in vinegar, and when I say liberally, I mean absolutely drenched. You then add copious salt, wrap them up, and let them infuse for about 10 minutes before eating. This is chippy-chip law.
Then I remembered KFC. My darling KFC, I did not mean to forsake you. I decided to add a starter of two pieces of gloriously hot and oily fried chicken. None of the rubbish breast meat nonsense, I would have two thighs pieces to maximise the juicy loveliness of this chickeny session.
At around mile 3 I passed an Iranian patisserie. I am not a massive dessert-eater but it reminded me of the cake a colleague had recently brought into work for her birthday. This cake was astonishingly lovely, a cream, berry and sponge concoction that was the lightest, most wonderful cake I have ever eaten. I believe it is a Nordic recipe that involves soaking the sponge in milk, whatever, it tasted of heaven. So pudding would be a 30cm square slab of that.
I could have left it there, but my recently healthy eating has involved denying myself bread, and I bloody love the stuff. So logically I should add a cheese course.

Here is my final menu

Starter: 2 thigh pieces KFC
Main course: 3 McDonalds cheeseburgers with barbeque sauce, small portion of chippy chips. Ketchup
Dessert: Nordic cream cake
Cheese course: Ripe camembert with a warm freshly baked white baguette

All washed down with several tall glasses of full-fat Coca-cola with ice and lemon slices


Then I thought I'd work out the calorie content

KFC thighs 2 @ 250cals = 500cals
McDonalds cheeseburgers 3 @ 300cals = 900cals
Portion chippy-chips @ 464 cals
Mcdonalds BBQ sauce 2 @ 50cals = 100cals
Ketchup 4tbsp @ 15 cals = 60 cals
Cream cake @ 850 cals
Freshly baked baguette @ 370 cals
Camembert @ 800 cals
Coca-cola 2 cans @ 140cals

Total = 4184 cals

So I thought I'd give it a miss, on balance. The sea-bass was bloody lovely actually.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Weekly Menu 27/06

What was that? You're wondering what meals I have planned for this week? Alright, I'll bloody well tell you.

Monday: Grilled Seabass with garlic broccoli and green beans
Tuesday: Asian-style prawn salad with asparagus
Wednesday: Baked potato with taramasalata and tomato salad
Thursday: Carrot and Courgette soup
Friday: Keema Matar

So very Moorish

Last year I overcame severe claustrophobia to fly to Marrakech for my honeymoon. I say ‘overcame’ but it was more a case of ‘doped myself up to the eyeballs on diazepam’ Son2 was only 15 months old at the time but my mum had volunteered to look after both the boys for 6 days while we celebrated our nuptials in the scorching heat of Morocco.  We had picked Marrakech for 2 reasons.

1.       Your money goes twice as far there as it would in Europe. We had an amazing suite in a riad, with its own roof terrace and plunge pool and a houseboy to bring us copious booze(most of which was included in the price). All for around £140 per night, which would get you a very average hotel room in Italy or France

2.       Their food is amazing
While we were there we ate in some of the best restaurants and had fantastic food every day. One of the best meals I have ever eaten was in a restaurant called Tobsil, we had a main course of chicken wrapped in pancakes, which sounds unremarkable but was unbelievably good. However there was also a cook at the riad who was outstanding. She made fabulous tagines and the best tomato salad in the entirety of the world ever.
Upon our return we bought a tagine (and were given two more in a bizarre day I call ‘The day with 3 tagines’) and I have had a lot of success in my experimentations. Moroccan food is perfect for entertaining as they tend to serve a lot of salads, most of which can be prepared in advance, and slow cooked meat. My sort of food.
So yesterday we were going to be out all afternoon at a picnic/birthday party and I wanted a proper meal for when we got back. So I shoved a happy chicken in my tagine in its entirety. I rubbed in a Morccan spice blend of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and harissa (or you can just use one of those premixed blends) and shoved a couple of preserved lemons up its backside. Splash of water in the bottom, lid on and into the oven for a couple of hours at 180. While it was cooking I made my two favourite Moroccan salads/accompaniments.
Sweet tomato jam
Fab served with chicken or lamb. Once made you can keep it in the fridge, in a clean jam jar, with a layer of oil over the top, for a couple of weeks.

2 small onions, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins plum/chopped tomatoes
Tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Tbsp sugar
Tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the onion in a little oil until soft
Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger and sugar
Simmer for about an hour, until the mixture becomes thick and jam-like
Add the honey and seasoning
Leave to cool

Moroccan carrot salad

4 large carrots, grated
Juice 1 lemon
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
Tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped coriander

Mix it all together and leave for an hour or more before serving

So while we were out the chicken rested, the carrot salad infused and upon our return all I had to do was make a green salad with red onion, slice few chunks of baguette, pour out a bowl of yogurt and plonk the chicken, jam and carrots on the table. It was fab and very reminiscent of our honeymoon, apart from the over-tired toddler spitting bread at us and seeing how dizzy he could make himself by shaking his head back and forwards as fast as he could. Oh, and after dinner I mopped the floors instead of retiring to my roof terrace. But overall, it was a bit similar, sort of.