Week Eight – It’s summer let’s, um, braise

I had intended to have a week of salads however it didn’t quite end up that way. One of the problems with changing a diet so that you have less carbohydrates and more vegetables is that you start to crave variety. We are just coming to the end of the English asparagus season and much as I love it (despite its side effects) it can get a little boring to have it several times a week.

This week I had a some little gem lettuce lurking in the fridge that I had bought for a salad that didn’t happen. I sliced them in half length-ways and placed them cut side down in a hot frying pan with a smidgen of oil then, once it had browned, added a splash of vegetable stock and covered with a lid. I cooked it for a few minutes before serving. I seem to remember having braised little gems at Claridges once and I had forgotten how nice they are. In fact they were so nice that I did some more a couple of days later and used the same method for some chicory. What was I saying about being boring?

At our last trip to the butchers we picked up some pig cheeks and these were braised in red wine with onion, carrots, celery and a little stock. After a long cook (I cooked it at about 110 for ten hours) I removed the cheeks, strained the cooking liquid through a piece of muslin then added a tablespoon of tomato purée and reduced it to a thick, glossy sauce. I placed the cheeks on a little olive oil mash and poured the sauce over them. We then snaffled them before I remembered to ask Debbie to take a photograph. They were lovely and next time we have them I will make sure there is a photograph.

Recently we have stopped planning out meals so far in advance which means that we could shop according to what looked nice rather than from a list on our fortnightly trip to Borough Market. I have a freezer full of some lovely stuff that I will be cooking over the next couple of weeks.

The weigh-in this week saw me lose three pounds, this brings my total loss to thirty six pounds. I think I might be anorexic though because despite losing over two and a half stone when I look in the mirror I still see a fat person.

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