If I thought that last week was a game of two halves, it was nothing in comparison to this week.
Friday started off OK once I reassured myself that losing 1lb wasn’t so terrible. That evening, the lovely folks at Plusixfive and Yum Bun were holding a bao pop-up at the latter’s Old Street shop. I have seen countless Instagrammed photos of friends eating ao and every time I’ve thought “I need to get me some of that bao action.” I was right – bao is right up my street. Steamed buns (actual bread – I assumed that the bun was made from something like tapioca flour but it’s wheat) filled with meat, salady things, herbs, chilli or hoisin sauce and a few crunchy bits…these really rocked my world. From top to bottom, slow roasted pork belly with cucumber, spring onions and hoisin, ox cheek rendang with coriander and peanuts and vegetable popiah with some seriously hot chilli sauce. You can’t really see the veggie one because I’d been over-enthusiastic and started eating it before I remembered to take a photo.
On Saturday I was hungover and in need of some serious comfort. I was faced with a bit of an empty fridge so I had to do a storecupboard dinner: Fuchsia Dunlop’s mapo tofu with rice and purple sprouting broccoli. This is the second time I’ve made this and I upped the chilli level and it was so good – a brilliant combination of soft and bland with salty, chilli heat. Delicious.
On Sunday I was up early and went down to Stepney City Farm to help my friend Jassy in her cafe. While I wasn’t completely wild about the getting up early part, it turned out that there was a little bonus waiting for me: 3 freshly laid goose eggs. I quickly snaffled one for £1.50 and squirrelled it away for later.
Goose eggs are equivalent to about 3 chicken eggs and are more similar to them than they are to duck eggs. As I trotted home from a brilliant day at the farm, I planned what to do with it and realised that I could only do one thing – mega fried egg. I picked up some potatoes to make some leek and potato cakes (my new favourite thing) and had an absolutely awesome dinner all within my points. Happy days.
On Monday I was tired and grumpy. I didn’t manage to plan anything very well so ended up only eating 6 points before I got home in the evening. This meant that I was left with lots and lots and lots going spare and yet my dinner was pretty saintly; roasted butternut squash, prosciutto, leaves and pecorino. I bumped up my points with some Walkers French Fries and a couple of fun size bags of Maltesers, but still came in at 10 points under my daily allowance.
I’ve been craving steak badly. Tuesday’s dinner was a butler’s steak from the East London Steak Company with diet chips (parboiled and then tossed in 1 tbsp oil and baked), garlic mushrooms and broccoli, and it was delicious.
On Wednesday, the naughty part of my week kicked in when my stepdad came to stay becuase he had a conference in London. I’ve wanted to go to The 10 Cases ever since my boozehound friend Donald recommended it and thought that this would be a perfect opportunity. Mike and I started with a glass of champagne, and moved onto a delicious bottle of riesling. I had soft shell crab (amazing) followed by pork belly and mash which, after behaving myself pretty well for a couple of weeks, I found very rich and didn’t quite finish. It was delicious though and I absolutely loved the restaurant. It was a gorgeous evening and the whole of the front of the restaurant was opened up; it felt like we were on holiday. Bliss.
On Thursday we went out again, this time I suggested going to Tozi in Victoria. Tozi opened very recently and serves cicchetti; small plates of Italian food. We shared several small plates, the best of which I forgot to photograph, but included buffalo ricotta ravioli with truffle (I nearly cried it was so good), ox cheek with wild mushrooms and baccala mantecato, which is rehydrated salt cod whipped up with oil in the way that you’d make mayonnaise, to make a sort of whipped, moussey cod deliciousness (recipe on Food Stories blog here). Other delicious things included calamari, bruschetta and, shown below, swordfish with caponata, burrata with Mediterranean vegetables and sorbets – coconut, passionfruit and lemon & basil.
It’s safe to say that I absolutely loved Tozi. I know that a lot of people are getting a little tired of the small plate thing, but I love it. It’s a brilliant opportunity to try lots of different things and, most importantly, it negates the possibility of food envy! The food last night was seriously good and pretty reasonably priced. If I wasn’t such a miserable cow and I didn’t go out of my way to avoid celebrating my birthday, I’d definitely be celebrating it here. My new favourite place.
I really thought that the last two nights may have screwed up any chance I had of losing any weight this week, but Tozi really wasn’t too bad – the portions were small enough that even a 50% share in something deep fried wasn’t a huge amount of bad food, so it was relatively diet friendly. The 10 Cases wasn’t diet friendly in any way, but I’ve been so good for the rest of the week, including eating incredibly low point salads for lunch, that it’s all balanced itself out a bit. I lost 5 lbs this week which is incredibly pleasing and has made up for last week’s slow start. Hooray!