Slow Carb Curry

I’ve found myself sofa bound the last few days due to being unfit in ways I couldn’t imagine and subsequently presenting myself with a grade II gastrocnemius tear. I say gastrocnemius rather than ‘calf’ not just because I’m a tosser, but also as it sounds mildly foodie.

In my state of reclined recuperation I’ve learned a bit about eating for healthy muscles and immune boosts. I’ve also found out that I can’t move very quickly or stand up for more than 10 minutes so fast one pot dinners will be on the agenda for a while to come.

This is a beauty of a simple dinner, high in fibre rich, slow release carbs to restock your glycogen stores ready to fight/run/score another day. Protein from peanut butter and yoghurt top up your muscle repairing macro nutrient stores with a favourable fat boost from linseed. Turmeric and chilli may increase blood flow and stimulate the immune system to hurry up fixing the hurty bits in your body too. People might moan about use of olive oil in a curry but it is rich in the omega happy fats and as a home alone cripple, nipping up the shops for some ghee wasn’t an option.

It’s also really nice dinner even if you don’t want to be sporty.

Boomboom Slow Carb Curry

Serves 2

2 large sweet potatoes
1 large white onion
5 cloves garlic
2 large carrots
2 sticks celery
3 tbspns crunchy peanut butter
5 tbspns natural yoghurt
2 cups fresh spinach
1 red chilli, seeds in or out to taste
1 tspn turmeric
1/2 Tbspn curry powder
1tspn smoked paprika
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
1 inch piece of root ginger, grated
Olive oil
Linseeds for garnish

Heat the dry spices in a heavy bottomed pan with enough oil to prevent them burning for one minute then add the onions and garlic. Once softened add the potato (peeled and cubed). Fry off for a minute or two then add a cup of water. Bring to simmer then add the chopped carrots and celery, peanut butter and ginger. Stir and leave to simmer lowly for about 15 mins or until the potatoes are cooked and starting to break down. Stir in the spinach and yoghurt then serve immediately topped with 1tspn golden linseeds per person and some wholemeal pitta bread on the side.

Variations: veganise this dish by either leaving the yoghurt out or swapping it with coconut milk. Up the protein with Greek yoghurt instead of natural. Freshly chopped coriander would be good in place of the linseeds as garnish.

Advertisements

Not in my name, and not on my plate.

exports-infographic-2015-1

I thought that watching George Bush Jr get a second term across the pond would be the weirdest, daftest and most baffling political decision I would bear witness to.

And then, there was Brexit.

It is obviously too late now to complain or campaign as the masses have spoken and landed the UK in some seriously muddy waters, where we now wait for our Parliamentary elite to decide who gets a dinghy and who gets ploughed up in the boiling wake of all the mega yachts. I think that numerous people on both sides of the vote have acted like total morons. I also think that even more people on both sides absolutely believed that the end result would never be for Out, and are now wondering what the bloody hell is going to happen.
The short answer of course is that nothing is going to happen until someone steps up who is prepared to go down in history as the Boris Person Who Invoked Article 50. The ramifications are massive for everyone who lives, works or trades in the UK as it stands today but it seems odd how many of them seem to not think so. One of my inlaws was held to say that ‘It will make no difference to anything. It never does.’ Several other people have commented that they don’t care about trade or migration or laws- they want to know how this is going to effect them. They want to know if their Spanish girlfriend is going to have to leave the country, if their job at the BMW garage is ok and how much the net cost of their generic supermarket wire basket of choice is going to change. We all have to eat, after all. Once again my friends, dinner unites us.

The most immediate concern to Joe Normal who doesn’t work in food but does eat it should be the pound. Yes it goes up and down all the time but there isn’t too much faith in it at the moment. Everything you now buy with your pound that was bought by the person who sold it to you in Euros or dollars is likely to be a bit more expensive in the immediate future be it polo shirts or pomelos. This isn’t necessarily solved by only buying British as plenty of British manufacturers deal within Europe and beyond and may handle their accounts in euros or dollars.

Coming second to the pound is petrol, which due to the pound fluctuating is likely to go up in price in the next week at the pumps and is unlikely to survive the confirmed tax increases being finalised by our Chancellor as we type. The knock on to this goes to your food shop- how much it costs you to drive to Tesco or how much Asda charge to deliver your shopping to your doorstep. The end bill to all the big players for shipping their produce in and out and across the country is a substantial amount of money and they are not going to absorb this at the expense of their own profits- they will make up for it at the till. A quid on your dishwasher tablets. 5p on your bananas. Dropping that three packs of meat for a tenner offer. Every little helps.

This may be a time when the argument to buy from your local farm shop becomes stronger than ever.

Maybe.

A funny thing happened to me yesterday. Whilst selecting my vegetables for purchase I didn’t bother to check the countries of origin. I usually root around like a rabid animal, desperate to attack some English apples or Scottish beef or local stawberries depending on the season. I have been known to persistently abuse supermarket social media accounts when I have no local purchase options and if, again seasonally dependent, I can’t buy it from a close European country then I don’t buy it at all. Braeburns are not the only fruit and in a global market, I still like to buy from my neighbours.  In a previous life I have changed an entire, meticulously planned lunch party menu at the last minute when I could only find Kiwi lamb on the shelves in M&S. I do not buy southern hemisphere meat. Ever. But in my last shop, I picked up the cheapest broccoli and a bag of spuds and some apples and I would have to go to the fridge now to tell you where they grew because I simply didn’t care where they were from. Writing this, I still don’t. I seem to have lost my ability to shout about my homeland and how brilliant it is.
I will come back to this later.

What about Brexit and everyone who works as well as shops from the food industry here? I know a lot of people employed by Edibles of some sort and they now face the implementation of Brexit with a number of issues.

Issues like having a job in London and a Head Office in Scotland, a country likely to do everything it can to dump the UK as soon as it can. How will that work? We don’t know yet. It might all be fine, but ‘might’ doesn’t pay your rent.
Issues like running a small coffee shop which makes money but not much and is likely to lose custom if the economy begins to shrink and people don’t have extra cash to splurge on hot drinks and bits of cake. When do you start cutting costs, and where?
Issues like facing redundancy due to relocation of a huge dairy depot, employing hundreds of the local Polish community who are now either unemployed or moving a couple of hours North to keep a job which might not exist in 2 years time, in a country that can’t guarantee their right to work here at all. That has to suck. I will also come back to this later.

For balance, I should also mention friends and family in the farming industry who are now thrilled to approach a future free of EU controls and subsidy rules and all that nonsense. Who knows what kind of boosts are possible for British farmers IF their government decides to back their interests in this brave new world. I have my hat off to these people for embracing hope rather than trepidation at the uncertainty.

Fishing, now, that’s going to get better right? We’re going to have mountains of cheap cod again and all our fisherman can build second homes and have solid gold nets! Nigel Farage said so! I can’t maintain neutrality on this, as it is one of the biggest piles of bullshit of the Leave campaign where facts got left in the backwash of the farcical Thames rally. The patriotic fish stocks wont move into British waters when article 50 comes in, by the way. Millions of pescetarians are not going to start ditching cheap Vietnamese tilapa fillets for a nice chunk of cod at twice the price. In all likelihood the Government will again spend millions on various reports and investigations from scientists as to sustainable fishing amounts then add on 10% and watch as our seas are stripped to nothing. This is a double tragedy as the unpopular EU quotas, which I myself have slammed in the past, are responsible for bringing up the cod levels to the point that it will soon ‘likely’* be announced a sustainable species once more. Another interesting point, a current point of today, is that 80% of our wild caught (not farmed) seafood is exported and 4 out of 5 of those buyers are, wait for it, can you guess? Yes, in the EU*. The same EU that is indicating that there is zero interest in maintaining free trade rules with the UK if we aren’t going to honour free movement. Migration was a huge promise from Brexit and if we don’t budge on it so there goes the profitability of 4 out of 5 seafood exports.  And now that the UK has decided to divorce our continental partners, will they still want to buy it from us anyway?

This leads me to what I have been saying I will come back to and that is that talking about pounds and shopping baskets and petrol pumps and mackerel hauls is immaterial without talking about people, and the people of the UK are in crisis. Not everyone is unhappy about Brexit and I categorically do not condemn anyone who voted Leave just because they voted Leave. I don’t want to talk about how you voted or why anymore. I don’t want to talk about incidents of hate crime and racism being perpetrated by morons who should be rounded up and put in a giant cannon and shot to the moon which they can make Their Country as bigoted and poisonous as they like. I want to say that up until 24th of June this year I was a very passionate patriot and I loved the UK and I wanted to see it thrive. I wanted to buy apples harvested here and support dairy farmers the way I support the rugby team or that miserable sod Andy Murray. You see, because I can be English and British at the same time. And I thought I could be European too. That has been taken away from me, by a narrow margin, and I’m really pissed off about it and the only way I can immediately respond is with my money. I don’t want to give it to separatists who have, willingly or not, just sided with the violent racist hoards of this country who now think they have the backing of 52% of the population to start sending hate mail to Hungarian children and call third generation Cardiff dwellers ‘Pakis’. Ah but there were Poles in the SS you know! Also, Hilter was a vegan. Are we going to blame the holocaust on those who eat only peanuts and carrots for breakfast?

Oh this is a food blog, yes sorry back to that. Where am I going to go out to eat in my little town that voted well over 60% to Leave? Probably to the Italian up on the main road, where I’ve never heard an English accent behind the counter or the order pad. Because I don’t hate them and I want them to know that. Or maybe to the cafe in town which is run by a team of guys who are mostly, er, I don’t know where they are from. They look and sound Mediterranean and I don’t need to know because I don’t care because they make a mean teacake and support my immediately local economy. They spend with other local business and pay local taxes and I don’t want them to feel like they are not wanted here in My Town, which apparently I get to Take Back now.
I don’t believe I’m alone in this, infact I know I’m not. But get past the remain voters here and look out, past the borders being drafted in a fat red pen in Brussels, and what do they think in the continent? And by ‘them’ I don’t mean the traders and the politicians and the fat cats I mean the man on the street. I mean Juan Bloggs. Does he want to buy English beef when his cousin the nurse got blamed for the collapse of the NHS and abused on a train home to the Cornwall town where she pays tax and goes out for clotted cream teas? Maybe not. And at home in the UK, does Jason Wabnitz want to shell out on cheeses and chutneys from his local farm shop or actually is he just going to wait to get into town and go to that Polish deli instead where he doesn’t have to worry about snidey remarks from some UKIP voting fucknut about why he isn’t at home packing his bags? Do you see where this is going? Do I want to go on holiday to the Welsh coast again and buy their lamb and sausages and support their farmers who mostly voted against what I believe to be the morally, socially and economically responsible action? No. I don’t.

AND I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Derision and anger and prejudice are moving to a point of power in the UK and this has to end lest we revert to some kind of 80s football hooligan movie nightmare, without that dude from Lord of The Rings to make it tolerable.
We need to stop being so pissed off and aggressive, because Brexit is happening. Yes, me too, because whatever happens in the next two years we all live here now and we need to support our country and everyone in it and Brexit is happening.
We need to protect our markets and our farmers and maintain relationships both next door and across the channel because I’m not about to give up decent wine or parmesan cheese. The food and hospitality markets play a MASSIVE part in our economy and our dinners take up a huge amount of space in our hearts. My recently departed Grandmother had a whole lot of generationally stereotypical slanted things to say about people who were black or foreign or (heavens forbid) both but boy did she love a Chinese dinner. There is your in-point to heal. There is your place of compromise because most racists love a kebab and there are no weird EU laws restricting your right to eat fish and chips or chicken tikka massala. So go out and eat at that Greek place and let them know you don’t hate them because the business rates they pay are feeding into the roads you drive on and the schools your kids go to, however over crowded and underperforming Michael Gove has allowed them to become. Pop in to your farm shop for some locally grown apples this autumn instead of supporting price rises and pension cuts in the larger stores (I’m looking at you, M&S).  Take down your vote leave signs, round up your namby pamby whinging Remainer buddies and get down to your local pub and thrash this argument out over a couple of pints of Brew Dog or Pucks Folly. Swallow your bile and try very hard to go back to your local fisherman and get a couple of crabs despite him being so proud of being on telly with the fundamental embarrassment to humanity that is Nigel Farage. Ok, maybe you don’t have to do that one.

Let’s be friends. Let’s break bread and try to make the best of all this animosity before more than our pride is irreversibly damaged.

 

By all means attempt to start a fight in the comments, I will approve anything anyone has to say but am unlikley to respond if you’re a dick about it. 

 

*http://ukandeu.ac.uk/what-would-brexit-really-mean-for-the-uks-fishing-industry/

 

 

 

Duck & Waffle

menu

There’s been far too much talk of weight loss and high fibre and firming up flabby bits of late so it is time we went back to some full on indulgence in these pages.

Duck & Waffle is about full on indulgence.

You will find Dan Doherty’s baby perched atop the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, boasting for some time to be the highest restaurant you could shake a fois gras crème brulee in. The views of the city, and beyond, are brutally fantastic from all angles at D&W and can be enjoyed from the bar and restaurant, but slightly more exciting than this panorama from your table is the sub-60 seconds trip up there from ground level via glass elevator. It’s a fun little ride, and a clever touch as one is almost guaranteed to be slightly giddy and giggly on arrival at the top. You are there, you have arrived and you’re happy about it. To quote a co-diner ‘I feel like Batman’. It’s fun in daylight and really pretty at night though make sure you have something to hold on to when you’re coming down after a big dinner and a cocktail or two……

The bar is something of a mixed metaphor in décor terms with plush and stainless steel seating and graffiti motifs but there is a kick ass cocktail list and a reasonable amount of seating to enjoy the view over the top of your negroni- or more likely something a little more exotic involving pickles, smoked stuff and a sprinkling of unlikely booze-food pairings. I have just checked the cocktail list and seen the Manhattan Roast which reminds me that I need to be in central London very soon for anything at all that means I might pop in for one of these.

So the bar is good, and lively at the expected times but fear not if you don’t love a crowd as the bar, like the restaurant, is open 24/7. Gimmick? Perhaps. I have no idea how busy it gets in the wee small hours or at half ten on a wet Wednesday morning but expect crowds most evenings and for weekend brunch and lunch services. Infact if you want to eat there then diary a time to give their reservations team a call exactly 2 months in advance as they don’t open booking any earlier than that, and if you leave it much closer you may well struggle to get in.

So we have a great bar, wonderful views, weird cocktails and a rush for tables. Not enough to entice you there? Oh right, food!

I’m being far too glib because the food at Duck and Waffle is spectacular and despite their blurb about simple small plates and family style serving for the table make no mistake- this is a dining event. Posh, but somehow playful. D&W is your demure middle aged aunt who wears fine lace and pearls but also makes guff jokes and says ‘bonk’ a lot.

Dining traditionalists will still have some classic choices to keep them comfortable with a raw bar, roast chicken and ice cream and biscuits making menu appearances alongside some much more daring efforts and food trend favourites. There have been several notable dishes from my visits. Like the Oxcheek Donut- yes, an actual donut with sugar and jam and everything. And beef. It really works. The signature dish of Duck and Waffle is a favourite of mine- sweet waffle, confit duck leg, fried duck egg, sweet mustardy sauce. Looks alright on paper and you feel like you should order one as you’re there but upon delivery it turns out to be something very special. Two types of richness with a fatty meat middle then soft sweet pillow of waffle all pulled together with the punch of the mustard maple syrup and the wonderful crispy egg. I could eat this for any every meal, as could you as this is one of the few menu items available at all times. If that’s not enough for you how about the aforementioned fois gras (the guilt) crème brulee? A delinquently rich and creamy custard with savoury depth beneath a full traditional sugar glaze, best served dolloped onto a lump of glittery pork-scratching-bejewelled brioche bun. Do I sound like a tosser yet? I feel like one and I have to say that on presentation of the crème brulee I thought it was a step too far, just a bit too much. It’s paté for heaven’s sake. Only it isn’t- it is possibly the most confusing and satisfying culinary invention I have ever come across. It’s delicious and weird and once again here you are, giggling over your dinner.

pic

Top- torrejas and white choc blondie; bottom left the Duck & Waffle; bottom right brunch settings

As you can imagine, this is certainly not a menu devoid of opinion splitters as seen in some kind of white fish balls in sauce that I could not get on with at all and many a vegetable dish refused by our carnivorous party due to simply not wanting to waste belly space on fibre. I do think it’s important to note that vegetarians are more than catered for here and not a token goats cheese tart in sight- top points to the asparagus with perfectly executed runny egg, the coal roasted beetroot is firmly on my list for next time.

Desserts will change periodically but offer hot and cold, old and new, weird and traditional delights like Baked Alaska and a magnificent blondie to be devoured in an animalistic fashion after spending a solid half minute oohing over the delicate floral presentation beside it on the plate. Beautiful. The desserts are not easy to share, from an emotional point of view!

Service is friendly and casual, I’ve found staff approachable and knowledgeable, more than happy to explain how to get the best of the menu for your party including staggering the arrival of your sharing plates in the best combinations. This shouldn’t be an achievement, but it is worth mentioning because high end city eateries have been known to employ front of house staff who are evidently intellectually and culturally above their general class of diner and not afraid to express it. None of that at D&W. Lack of formality may upset some but it makes for a more relaxed (but certainly not sloppy) experience to this foodie and no doubt to better tips for those working the laid back smiles and red shirts.

gherkin

city views from the private dining room

As you may expect, this is not budget dining in any sense. Cocktails come in from fifteen quid and up but you can still get in a damn good amount of dinner for less than sixty quid a head if you are stingy sensible  with the wine. Because there is a hell of a wine list and when you’re high on all the truffled negronis and crispy pigs ears* you might be tempted to go off the rails and treat yourself to that Bordeaux halfway down the reds list. Just really watch it when you need another one. There are certainly options and you don’t have to break the bank but the danger is real so either go resigned to a massive splurge or keep a track on your spending as you go. I think this is the only meal where I have ever seen my poor old Pops visibly blanch upon opening the bill- because it’s all just so good so sod it we’ll have another one of those. And that. And a round of coffees, thanks.

Obviously you don’t have to go for the re-mortgage late night extravaganza and painfully stuffed lift ride down. Their breakfast menu looks wonderful (I’m coming for you, duck congee) and the brunch taster menu is well worth being the kind of nob who says ‘brunch’ for. City types could sneak in some sobering treats from the late night menu on the way for the last train home from Liverpool Street or slip in to wait out the two hour dead zone for the first one tomorrow. There are so many reasons to go, but you don’t really need one other than that it is there.

Am I being too positive? I don’t think so. Yes there were the weird fish balls and one of the few times in my life I have ever sent back a gin and tonic (the barman was having a bad night it seemed). These blips seem to be exceptions that prove the rule that I have a heaving, fat bellied crush on Duck & Waffle. I love it. Even as I sit here typing this up when I should be doing day job stuff I am grinning from ear to ear. My colleagues probably think I’ve finally snapped and am spending the company millions on foam peanuts before handing my notice in. But this is the point- D&W is about snickering while you bunk off Friday work chores. It’s about splashing out your sainsburys budget on a couple of fat cocktails on a school night as you look out for the Food Blogging Twitterati in the bar. It’s about dressing up then kicking back and digging in to the plates on the other side of the table and passing the bacon and date nibbles and talking a bit louder than you might in other such establishments. It’s a laugh. It’s brilliantly done and that is the triumph at D&W. Yeah there’s a view and a cocktail made from pea soup but that doesn’t mean you have to be all uptight about it.

Bravo.

https://duckandwaffle.com/

*seriously you really have to have the crispy pigs ears, especially good if you are just in for a sneaky drink.

Chickpea Salad

image

Invented on the hop for an impromptu BBQ with cupboard basics and the dregs of the fridge contents the day before Morrissons Day!

I enjoy chickpeas for diet friendly bulk, they are filling with reasonable protein and fibre content. They are also a nice summer feed for the non carnivores and just that bit tastier than beans or the dread quinoa. This mix will last well and can be made en masse to take care of your lunchbox for the week also.

Boomboom Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas
Half a cucumber, finely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, very very finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Half Tbspn virgin olive oil
Half Tbspn cider vinegar
One finely chopped red chilli or 1/4 tspn chilli powder
Black pepper
Pinch salt

Basically chuck it all in a bowl, stir gently and leave to infuse flavours for an hour before serving BUT please use good, ripe tomatoes and a half decent olive oil. Double please rinse your chickpeas thoroughly before using.

Variations: swap the chilli for half tspn cumin seeds if you don’t want the heat. Bulk out into a vegetarian main by adding feta or some grilled haloumi cheese.

Smoothie #9

image

Gardener’s Rescue- a quick filler in a break from battling the weeds when I’m also on damage control from some mass over indulgence yesterday. Really refreshing on a warm day, jazz apple gives it a pleasingly sharp zing.

Boomboom Smoothie No 9

<250 calories
Up to 5g protein
Up to 5g fibre

5tbspns low fat natural yoghurt
Half a jazz apple
Small banana
Handful icecubes
1/2 Tbspn apricot jam
1/2 cup cold water

Any sharp apple will work if you dont have jazz and you could swap out the jam if you like. Add half a scoop of whey to up the protein (and calorie) content.

Grow Your Own- The Salad Days

image

I can’t imagine that I would have ever believed that the day would come to pass that I would find the lack of the need to buy lettuce so utterly thrilling.
I never really bought much of it anyway, it goes soggy in the lunch box and never tastes of much, not to mention the potentially gaseous after effects. However this leafy nonchalance went out of the shed window about the same time that I saw the first rounded shoots of green come up in my little horticultural patch back in April. The lettuce are truly thriving my friends, and they are really, really nice to eat. I don’t speak with the blinded love of a mother here, I didn’t expect to want to eat that much of them but thought they would be a good learning experience and something to plug out the shadier spot of the veg patch with. A rather tentative first harvest came a couple of weeks ago, three crisp and colourful leaves washed thoroughly then chopped to go in the lunch box. Only lettuce. Only really seriously tasty lettuce that doesn’t fool the palate into thinking it is just crunchy water! It actually tastes green and pleasingly astringent and, so far, no uncouth bowel effects. Hooorah for the lettuces! After this successful first taste test I went on to make a well recieved cesar salad for ten from my little patch which has thinned the crop slightly but brings us neatly to my next favourite thing about growing them- constant renewal. Plucking out the middle leaves on each plant the leaving for recovery results in a basically endless supply as long as you don’t strip one individual too far. Leave the biggest leaves at the base for the evil hell snails to deface and wait for new growth from the top. If you do over harvest just chuck out some more seeds and in current conditions you will have a new plant ready to reap in about a month. Brilliant.

Speaking of the evil hell snails, I can confirm that all humane control attempts have ceased and I am now drowning the vile beasts in beer. It’s an easy enough method- dig into bare soil in a vulnerable spot deep enough to house a yoghurt pot or similar sturdy but shallow container. Make sure the edge isn’t above the main soil level then fill about two thirds with beer. You should start to find their bloated little corpses from the next morning. I move them to rest permanently in the compost. They aren’t fussy about their ale either- I’ve been using Morrissons value label bitter which is about 90p for a four pack. Worth every penny and more.

My other resident pest Moby Dick the phantom crapper has carefully inspected the plants I bought in good faith to repel him, knocked one over and done a big poo right next to it. Back to the drawing board on that one.

Our friendly great tits still visit frequently as does a fearless blackbird who pecks at the lawn most evenings and Kevin The Depressed Wood Pigeon, who moans a lot and keeps trying to eat from the fruit trees. But he’s too fat and the branches just bend until he falls off, and it serves him right.

We have some lovely foxgloves and a magnificent splash of maroon snap Dragons. There are geraniums everywhere which need thinning. As for the rest of it:

Cabbages– January King, planted in the ground. Very quick to appear, noticibly leggy seedlings.

Onions– red Karmen in ground and pots from bulb. The tops are enormous but not yet very big underneath. Doing better in the ground than pots.

Carrots– Nantes 5 variety in ground and pots. Still too young to harvest, seemingly better off in the pot than in the ground due to protection from digging, see previous rants about that bloody cat.

image

Wild Thing Sage, smells as pretty as it looks

 

Herbs– rosemary and oregano doing well, no doubt aided by my constantly forgetting that they are there and thus not eating them. Applemint and Spearmint thriving in pots and trying to mount a full resurgence in the flowerbeds. Sweet smelling perennial in one of the beds has now flowered and been identified as a Wild Thing Sage and it is rather beautiful. Ornamental for now, need to research edibility.

Hazelnut Trees- still there, crying in the wind as I rip out the children born of stray nuts that got into the veg patch. Note to all- hazelnuts trees are easy to propagate.

Fig– recent leaf growth surge.

image

possible plum?

 

 

 

 

WTF Trees – one crab apple confirmed and another now looks likely to be a plum, as first suggested some time ago by the Mothership.

Chilli Plant– staged a come back on the windowsill and is flowering once more.

Errol The Lemon Tree– loving life in the conservatory. I have half a plan to put him out in the gap in the beds recently vacated by a surplus lavender bush.

The Skinny Thing- Facing The Slip Ups.

I should be writing this on the eve of my 12 week-end-of-the-road-NHS-weight-loss-plan-weigh-in but for numerous reasons that little nugget of joy has been bumped to next week.
Instead I write to you from my sofa on the eve of just another Thursday, about five kilos lighter than I was at the start of this conversation back in March. This is not a huge number to have checked in and I’d be fibbing if I said I wasn’t hoping for more. I’d be fibbing even further if I said I felt I deserved more, as there have been a fair few slips on the road from then to now.

image

It’s slips you have to think about when you step on the scales and don’t see the massive loss your aching empty ego stomach allegedly deserves. Lie to your weigh in buddy or calorie tracker all you like, but at the end of the day it’s you and your muffin top alone in the dark, and you know what you’ve done. It’s a splurge of mayo on every lunch time salad. A fish and chips binge on Friday night. It’s a bottle of wine with your mate because it was all you had in the house and she was crying about her boyfriend being an idiot. It was eating big in the morning to fuel a long run you didn’t bother to go on after work. Slips don’t necessarily make you gain weight if you are behaving most of the time, but they don’t speed up your losses either.
I try to face my slips honestly. Sometimes they are obvious, like a brunch taster menu sitting at Duck and Waffle (which you should really try BTW). Not much of a loss that week. Sometimes it isn’t so obvious. Sometimes you stick to it and you eat the salads and drink the water and run the miles and you hop on those scales and the bastard things tell you that you’re actually up half a kilo on last time. There is no white hot, salivating sabre toothed rage quite like it. A rage that is really not helped by your snooty weigh in counsellor pouring over your exemplary food diary and pronouncing that this gain is due to the packet of sunbites to which you succumbed to last Thursday on the bus home. Seriously, in what universe does the human digestive tract convert 25g of wheat based snacks into 500g of body? It doesn’t,  but it might motivate you to bow out of your food counselling sessions in favour of self management instead. I know for a fact that one bag of no fat crisp substitutes did not turn into half a kilo of real weight through the process of digestion. I also know why the counsellor said it.
Because no one believes a fat person who says they eat right.
I don’t believe other fat people who say they eat right. Because if we ate right, we wouldn’t be fat. Right? Yes, right but not wholly right. There is more to weight than what you eat. There is water balance and hormonal fluid retention. You could have a thyroid condition or a sports injury and resultant swelling accounting for that extra weight. Or you could just be full of shit. Quite literally, all that extra salad fibre could be backed up in your guts causing the scales to go the wrong way on that cursed, humiliating weigh in day. How to know? You can’t know. You can look honestly at your slips and if they don’t account for this freak gain you stay on the waggon and see how it goes next time because what you eat does have an awful lot to do with how fat you are, even if it isn’t the entire picture.

A lot of people bang on about weight loss not being linear. Weight loss isn’t fair either and all the science in the world sometimes can’t account for it. So regonise your slips, give yourself a talking to and carry on. Because If you stick to your plan and treat yourself well and cut out the cruddy foods you that make you fat, you will lose the fat. Eventually. In bits.

Look at the slips. Embrace the slips. Don’t feel bad about them though. Actually I feel pretty good about my moderately slow shrinkage. People I don’t see very often are doing a double take and remarking that I look slimmer, which is nice. I’ve spent so much money on sports stuff that I can’t afford a hair cut and have subsequently gained the opportunity to grow out my fringe.  I can also fit back into what I thought was my favourite office frock, but it turns out that this looks a bit like a dental nurse uniform which isn’t so nice but is still in the positive end of the results spectrum.

It’s all good.