So we have been having a quiet time of it this Easter Holiday. The manic last week in March (two significant birthdays and the Help for Heroes Cake Sale) left us all feeling a little worn out in this house and completely distracted me from planning a vast amount of holiday excitement. Judging by Facebook this is not true for everyone. There has been much sharing of Disney Resort visits, ski-ing trips, Floridian escapades, family get togethers, camping or not as the temperatures plummeted, for one set of ex-pats (living in Australia) visiting other bits of Australia and finally counting the locally nesting swan’s egg collection (OK we could have done that last one too!). I ♥ Facebook.
We did go ski-ing in the Tamworth Snowdome – that was good fun – surreal and invigorating, visited Studland beach for a day, made the best ever scones, tested some more chocolate salted caramel cupcakes (recipe coming end of the week), have caught up on lost sleep from the Child 1’s Camp In, went to see the Hunger Games and watched Child 2’s latest drama workshop performance:
Absolutely Fabulous Darling!
All perfectly exciting enough you might say, well yes it was and rather nerdishly from my point of view an additional highlight for me was the arrival of the veg box as (apart from the perpetual carrots and potatoes) there was not a root vegetable in sight.
Here are a few of the said highlights:
Now, I might be generalising here, but usually, when friends return from holidays, there are complaints about weight gained. Coupled with that my better half informed me that the largest upsurge in gym memberships is actually post-Easter not post-Christmas (how does he know this stuff – he regularly comes across as being the oracle). So I am thinking a low-carb recipe might be in order.
I am not going to get into a big discussion here on healthy eating and weight loss. I’m not qualified and currently fall within the ‘normal’ BMI range. I have dieted in my time, and get a lot of comments running along the lines of ‘surely you should be fatter as you are surrounded by cakes and buttercream’. I try to keep on top of weight gain by owning a pair of scales and using them regularly (monitoring really does make a difference I think), running (essential for me), and over the course of a week eating several low carb meals. As you get older this tactic seems to make the job of maintaining a steady weight much easier. If I see the weight creep up, so do the number of low carb meals.
However I don’t worry too much about essential fatty acids. These are the fats which are necessary to keep you healthy and are found in oily fish, olive oil, nuts, avocados that sort of thing. Animal fats: butter, cream, cheese and the fat on the meat have a different molecular structure and are the more ‘problematic’ ones. I don’t eat much in that department and try to keep my sugar consumption down. This last rule seems to be trickier the older I get! The other trick I have learnt is to stop eating when I start to feel full, and a need to feel properly hungry before I eat again. I understand that particularly for some eating food is wrapped up with issues such as stress and therefore this robotic approach won’t work for all, but over time some small shifts in behaviour can make a big difference. There was a weight-related motivational quote on Pinterest the other day ‘you will notice the difference after 4 weeks, your family after 8 and the rest of the world after 12’. 12 weeks is the beginning of the school summer holidays.
About perfect then.
So a salad recipe. In the bottom right hand corner of the picture is a Portobello mushroom and I believe these beauties are too interesting in their own right to be chopped up and put in Spaghetti Bolognese, let’s make a feature of them instead.
This can be made out of whatever you have knocking about really, or if you want to use half fat cheese (like those Mozzarella balls, grated Edam or even low-fat soft cheese) then do, but some easy melting cheese is essential.
- Preheat the grill on a moderately hot setting.
- Remove the skins from 2 Portobello mushrooms and place them gill-side down in a small roasting tin. Brush with a little olive oil. Pop under the grill for 3-4 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a bowl mix together some chopped or grated cheese, I like Dolcelatte or Stilton mixed with a small amount of grated Jarlsberg or alternatively crumbled goat’s cheese, some chopped walnuts and some chopped parsley if available. In the picture above I also added some chopped avocado. (A lot of chopping).
- Once the mushrooms are looking like they have softened and mushroom ‘juice’ is starting to run, remove from the heat, turn them over and pile on the cheese-y nutty topping. Return to the grill and continue to cook until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
- Prepare some salad leaves and maybe some tomato and cucumber on a plate and drizzle no more than ½ a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over. Once cooked, transfer the mushrooms to the bed of lettuce and pour over the juices which will be running around the bottom of the tin. Squirt a little lemon juice over or, if you have used avocado particularly, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and tuck in.
Other types of nuts or chopped tomato can be substituted for walnuts. This is actually substantial enough for an evening meal.