This week has been catastrophically bad in so many ways. My anxiety levels have been off the scale. I have cried a lot, felt sick a lot, slept badly and generally lost the plot. The diet went out of the window completely.
On Tuesday I had what would turn out to be my only healthy meal of the week. Chicken and pearl barley casserole (recipe below).
On Wednesday I went to the cinema. I had good intentions but my hunger beat me into submission and I ended up having a hot dog and a glass of wine (no photo, the cinema was dark.) On Thursday I went to Silk Road in Camberwell with a couple of friends where we ate amazing aubergine, cabbage, dumplings and “medium plate chicken” – basically pieces of chicken, potato and belt noodles in broth. Utterly delicious; we finished all but one noodle.
On Friday I was invited to @ThePloughSW11 where we were the first to sample Brewery Fresh London Lager by Meantime Brewery which is apparently aged in a cask or something…I was a bit blinded by science. Something to do with nitrogen vs. oxygen pushing it through the pipes…nope, no idea what it was all about, but it tasted good. We were also given some pretty special burgers which are apparently all the rage in America…all hail the Boston Burger:
That yellowy/brown stuff on top of the burger is peanut butter. DON’T HATE! It’s actually really good.
My mum was supposed to be staying for the weekend but unfortunately she wasn’t very well, so a friend came to stay instead. On Saturday, we went down to Brockley Market where we shared a pork schnitzel sandwich (recommendation: ask for it without the fruit compote which was unfortunately just too overpowering), a Hix fishdog (basically a very small and rather expensive fish finger sandwich) and a sub roll with pork cheek and coleslaw in it. Here’s a snapshot of the latter:
We spent the rest of the day watching terrible chick-flicks, drinking prosecco and eating Walkers French Fries. On Sunday we ate ALL the dim sum at Hong Kong City in New Cross. I thought I’d never be able to eat again but, funnily enough, by 7.30pm I was feeling rather peckish and knocked up a plate of orrechiette with chilli, garlic, anchovies and cime di rapa (broccoli rabe) which was the nicest thing I’ve cooked in ages.
So nice that I ate the bit that I’d reserved for Monday’s lunch. I WAS STRESSED OUT AND ANXIOUS, OK? Monday night’s dinner was toad-in-the-hole, admittedly made with low fat sausages (waitrose’s are surprisingly OK) but still. Not diet.
Overall, a truly horrendous week. Regardless, I went ahead and weighed myself this morning and, totally unexpectedly, there is no damage. I have stayed EXACTLY the same as I was last week. What the hell is the deal with my body?? I’m more than a little bit confused. Does anxiety make you thin? Or will it show up on the scales next week? That’s my guess.
Chicken and pearl barley casserole (serves 2)
2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 echalion (banana) shallots, finely diced
A large leek, cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
80g pearl barley
Chicken stock (enough to cover) – a stock cube will do
Pinch of dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cornflour mixed with a little water
1. In a large saucepan, brown off the chicken in a little oil and set aside.
2. Add a little more oil to the saucepan and saute the shallots for a couple of minutes before adding the carrots, leeks and potatoes and stirring in the pearl barley.
3. Return the chicken to the pan, add the thyme, a decent grinding of black pepper and some salt (depending on the saltiness of your stock cubes) and pour in enough stock to just cover everything. Pop a lid on top and leave it on a gentle simmer.
4. After 20 minutes, test the pearl barley – it should be just about cooked by now. Check the seasoning and pour in the cornflour mixture and cook for another 10 minutes when it will done.
This is a pretty generous portion for two people; those of you with sparrow like appetites could make it stretch to feed three.