Monday, 7 September 2015

Gado Gado in the Style of an Acai Bowl

A dish that I have on regular rotation in this era of healthy is Taco Salad. Well, I call it Taco Salad. As its name suggest, its basically the contents of a taco without the taco and with some bonus vegetables thrown in. if you want to get technical I suppose its more of a Burrito Salad. Anyway...

I almost called this post Taco Salad, Indonesian Style. Luckily I realised that in fact I had made deconstructed Gado Gado before we got to that point. To be clear, I'm being ironic about my use of the word 'deconstructed'. I'm in the middle of watching MasterChef Australia and every other dish is 'deconstructed' so obviously my Gado Gado is too. 

In regards to the acai bowl thing, if I'm honest I'm not entirely sure what they are, and I don't think I want to know. This is a slightly embarrassing thing for someone from Melbourne to admit. Good thing I live in London where ignorance is bliss, at least as far as acai bowls are concerned. According to Kayla Itsines of Bikini Body Guide Fame,  acai bowls 'make GREAT Instagram pics ;)'. Well, with this knowledge, how could I resist the opportunity to my lunch so on trend. 

Confused? Don't be. We're about to make something delicious. This is a winner at 420 cals. 

Gado Gado - An Indonesian salad with peanut dressing

I used:
1 baby gem lettuce
50 grams each of sugar snap peas, snow peas, broccoli and zucchini
1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil
100 grams chicken breast
5 little radishes
1/2 a lime
a small handful of sprouts (I make my own with a BioSnacky germinator)
50 grams of a delicious peanut sauce that is made without mysterious chemicals like the one from Sambal Shiok, available here

Pop of pan of water on to boil, put a sprinkle of salt in the water. 
Cut up the broccoli, zucchini, radish and lettuce into bite size pieces. 
Once the water has come to boil, put in the sugar snaps, snow peas, broccoli and zucchini. Count to 10. Take them out, drain them off. 
Arrange all vegetables prettily on a plate. 
Heat up a fry pan, put in the coconut oil and let it melt then add the chicken, when cooked through slice it up and add to the salad. 
Warm up the peanut sauce and loosen with a little water. Pour over the salad, or be ridiculous as I have been and contain the sauce to a portion of the plate. 
Sprinkle over a little salt and squeeze the lime. 

Should you want this to be slightly more traditional you may want to include a chopped up boiled egg (+70 cals) and include some choi sum and bean sprouts in the salad. 

Here is Mandy from Sambal Shiok being cute at her Street Food Union stall.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cals, Cals, Cals (or Now That Summer is Over)

I don't know about you, but if there was one word to sum up my summer it would be 'indulgent' or maybe 'extravagant' or taking it right down to basics 'calorific'. Pre-summer my weight loss year to date was around 14kgs. For the majority of June and July I plateaued, well, sort of. Yes, my weight has been pretty steady until the last couple of weeks where my current diet has, well, let's say its having a relaxed summer holiday. Consequently my weight has quickly gone from flat to having an impressively steep incline. 

With tomorrow being the 1st of September and the start of a new season, (technically not the start of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere which is confusing) its time to stop celebrating and time to get back on track. Luckily I haven't given up exercising so I can focus on getting my diet back on track. As I mentioned in this post, I have been reading about nutrition, and whilst of course I've wanted to get less fat, my long term goal is to improve my overall health. 

Now, I am absolutely certain that I have lost this weight by watching what I eat. I've gone totally old school and counted calories. That's right, weighing everything I eat and then recording it on the MyFitnessPal (MFP) app. Let me tell you, it is seriously tedious. And boring. So boring. The problem is that it works twofold, there's a constant awareness of what and how much you've been eating as well as a new mindfulness around what you are putting into your body. Or maybe that's just me.

My biggest piece of advice is that you MUST enter every single thing you eat. It doesn't matter if you're having a bit of feast day or if you've just eaten lettuce, keeping track is only going to help you more. No cheating. Seriously. 

Luckily for us all MFP does most of the hard work, and the more you use it, the cleverer it gets. As well as my food, I also use it to track my weight, exercise and steps (it magically talks to my Fitbit). It also has this clever 'complete entry' button on the bottom of the diary screen that you click on at the end of the day and it gives you an estimate of how thin you'll be in five weeks time. I take screen shots of these each week and use them as a lovely motivator of how I am totally on track. Its a bit weird how excited I get as I see the numbers fall. Who doesn't like a bit of positive reinforcement?

I know I've been extra preachy in this post and unfortunately before I finish I just need to lecture you briefly about the the nutritional content of your calories. This is not an opportunity to fill up on mysterious, chemically, low calorie food. Going back to this Amelia Freer quote 'If you want to lose weight and tone up - you have to eat less now'. Less in volume, less in calories and fewer suspicious additives. If you want a bit of help getting the balance right MFP has a pie chart that shows the nutritional break up of the food you've been eating. So clever. 

Its the start of a new season (sort of) and thus a lovely opportunity to make a few changes to improve our health, lower our weight, reduce our cholesterol and look better in our favourite undies. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Darjeeling Express at The Sun & 13 Cantons

We're going slightly off-piste for a moment, I'll go back to how I'm being sensible in my next post. Promise. 

Last week, after a spin class, I went for lunch at the Darjeeling Express residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons in Soho. Like many people I had heard about how amazing Asma's food was, but somehow never made it to one of her supper clubs. Luckily for all of us, Asma and her lovely friends will be in the kitchen until March 2016. Yes, next year. Which is necessary because you'll want to go back many times. 

If you want to read in some detail about how delicious the food is try here and here. Suffice to say that it is so good that after the meal I asked Asma if I could spend some time working in the kitchen. Understandably I am yet to be let into the inner circle of recipe knowers so I'll happily keep going back to eat more of my favourites because the one thing I have learnt is that these dishes take time and cannot be rushed. Possibly one of the best examples of the rewards of the long, slow cooking is  the Hyderabad Mirchi Ka Salaan, a green chilli and onion side dish peppered with curry leaves and is a sweet as it is spicy. 

Advice to those of you going the first time, book a table in advance, give yourself time to try things from all over the menu and take friends so you can order more. 
There was an error in this gadget