Week Four – Carrots and Celery

I started the week with the return of a cough I have been fighting off for last few weeks. While it did mean that I didn’t feel able to walk to work I was pleased that I didn’t start comfort eating.

On Wednesday I finally cooked Alex Rushmer’s beef cheek ragu and it was lovely. Whilst cooking it I came to the realisation that the key to my diet is carrots and celery. This is a good thing as I like them and they add lots of flavour and bulk to a meal whilst being “free”. I shall try to see which recipes I can crowbar carrots and celery into over the next few weeks.

We went a bit off plan on Thursday eating at Coda before The National gig. I don’t think fine dining is as bad an option as some other cuisines mainly because you don’t tend to have carbs and protein on the same plate but also because the portions tend to be smaller. I could have chosen one of the better options but I couldn’t resist the lure of vanilla confit salmon to start followed by pork belly. I probably shouldn’t have had a pud!

Over the weekend I had fun trying to avoid mixing carbohydrates with meat. After a visit to Borough Market on Saturday I cooked some wonderful aged sirlion with asparagus, baby turnips and swiss chard. I boiled the turnips in a light vegetable stock which I then used to wilt the chard leaves. Overnight I simmered an oxtail to make a soup (with yet more carrots and celery, a glug of passata and a splash of red wine) which did for lunch on Sunday and left enough for a few lunches in the coming week.

Sunday evening I pan roasted a rolled venison joint: after browning it went into the oven for twenty five minutes before being rested for another twenty five. I served it with baked vegetable crisps. The trouble is that the crisps take an age to dry out in the over and when cooked are hygroscopic so have to be served straight away. Trying to make enough from various root vegetables when each has to be cooked flat on a low heat and the oven is needed to roast the joint was a tad difficult and the majority of the “crisps” were chewy rather than crunchy. A few weeks ago I would have not hesitated to use a deep fat fryer. Actually a few weeks ago I would have made roast spuds.

I was a little disappointed to only have lost a pound at weigh in but it is a loss. There is far less temptation in the way this week so I should lose a little more next time.

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