…or, to be more accurate, Week 17 plus 3 days. I’ve joined proper Weight Watchers which means that I’m going to meetings to be weighed as well as logging everything online, which simply wasn’t working on its own. It seems that I need the humiliation of standing in front of someone that used to be fat and be held accountable for my eating behaviours over the preceding week. Joining my local meeting means that my weigh in day has changed to Friday and so my blog posting day has also moved.
I had a few days before I joined Weight Watchers and, for once, I didn’t really take good advantage of them. Normally, in the lead up to a diet, I treat every meal as being my very own Last Supper which means I’ll often put on an additional stone in anticipation of the diet. I know, I’m stupid.
On Wednesday, I met a couple of friends for an early bite to eat at Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market. It’s been on my To Eat At list for quite some time and I was sad as it turned out to be pretty disappointing. In my extreme hunger I forgot to photograph any of the proper food, only remembering to take pictures of some little cod and polenta fish fingers and the puddings. We shared small plates of squid with curry and cauliflower, crispy pig salad, lamb onglet and lamb sweetbreads with sides of broccoli with anchovy and almonds, jersey royal potatoes and confit leeks with gubbeen cheese. While everything was fine, it was all under-seasoned and, in a few cases, just a bit weird. Puddings were a little bit more successful: rhubarb, ginger and blood orange trifle was nice but we couldn’t understand why they added peanuts into the mix. The brioche pudding was lovely and somehow managed to be both stodgy and light and the earl grey sorbet it came with was also very nice, but they shouldn’t have been on the same plate. The yoghurt sorbet, hazelnut, chocolate and honeycomb was excellent.
All in all, everything looked lovely and tasted OK but they need to introduce themselves to a salt pot and remove the odd ingredient. At £35 each for a share in 4 small plates, 3 vegetables, 3 puddings and a glass of wine, it didn’t feel like great value for money.
On Thursday I had pilates with my neighbour which didn’t end until 9.45pm so I was dirty and had an instant noodle sandwich. I know it’s wrong, but I love instant noodles. All that MSG!
On Friday I joined Weight Watchers and as I was waiting for an Ocado delivery the following day, I took out one of my freezer meals – chicken and tarragon casserole which I had with mashed potato and broccoli.
I made more mashed potato than I needed so that when I discovered the following day that I’d managed to order 1.1kg of leeks instead of the 500g I actually wanted, I turned the leftovers into some delicious leek and potato cakes which I had with prosciutto, poached eggs and some courgette ribbons (I’m no good at poaching eggs – I use poach pods which is why they look like boobs.)
On Sunday I made potage bonne femme (carrot, leek and potato soup) to deal with the glut of leeks and I slow-roasted a chicken, slightly unsuccessfully. Shed had told me that slow-roasting chickens is the way forward and advised me to put the chicken breast side down in a roasting tray filled with carrots, onions, garlic and wine/water and to cook it at 150c for 2.5-3 hours. I stopped at 2.5 hours (I was hungry!) and it was a terrible mistake – another 30-60 minutes and I think it would have been amazing. The breast was lovely; so tender and moist and delicious, but the legs needed more cooking.
Still so many leeks to use up…Monday’s dinner was chicken, leek and pea risotto. I made double because I find it such a pain in the arse to make risotto that it barely seems worth doing it for one portion. I added a little extra stock and a few mushrooms to spruce it up a little on Tuesday and topped it with some proscuitto as I had so many points going spare.
On Wednesday I went to Song Que for dinner before going on to The Nightjar to see my friend Brie’s ukelele band playing. I’m not the biggest fan of pho (soup annoys me) so I ordered bun noodles with pork. Super healthy, were it not for the delicious spring roll that it was topped with.
The band was brilliant and I definitely drank rather too much wine.
Finally, last night I went to a supper club put on by Save The Children which was catered for by one of the head chefs at The River Cafe. I’ll write more about the event, which was to promote their “Enough Food For Everyone IF” campaign, in due course but here’s what we ate:
Top left is ugali; this is maize and water and is the least flavoursome thing I’ve ever eaten. It wasn’t actually part of our meal but was there to show us what many Africans eat on a daily (if they’re lucky) basis. Top right is risotto with tomatoes, pecorino and basil, bottom left is rabbit with mint, black olives, artichokes and borlotti beans and, finally, bottom right is The River Cafe’s signature pudding of chocolate nemesis. It was all incredible and I am a Very Lucky Girl.
So a game of two halves really; I started the week really well with 5 days of saintliness followed by a day of too much booze (despite the spring roll, the food that day was still well within my points) and then a day which included chocolate nemesis. I went to Weight Watchers this morning and leant that I’d lost a mere 1lb. I trudged back to the office feeling very grumpy until my colleagues gave me a good talking to about The Long Game and the fact that 1lb down is the right direction and so on. I slapped myself around the face (truly) and now I plough on.