Week 15

I’m not feeling good about myself right now.  I’m still feeling a bit below par and lacking in energy which translates into feeling like I’m losing the will to live and certainly having no inclination to cook and look after myself.  I’ve been eating the wrong things, I’ve been eating too much of them and I just feel a bit out of control.

So – last week.  Tuesday was dinnerless.  I was feeling sick and weird so I just curled up on the sofa and felt sorry for myself.  On Wednesday I had a pretty substantial lunch of noodles with chicken and peanut dressing so I just had scrambled eggs in the evening as I was out late at an appointment.

noodles

On Thursday I went to Beagle for dinner with a few friends.  Beagle opened recently in the railway arches next to Hoxton Station.  We sat next to the kitchen and everything that came out looked amazing, so we were pretty excited.  To start I had a salad of crab, monk’s beard and preserved lemon.  It was nice enough – the crab was very good – but it wasn’t terribly exciting and I couldn’t taste the preserved lemon at all.  Other starters of asparagus with chive butter and boiled egg and cauliflower soup were better.  My main course was lamb shank with pearl barley and mint which was incredibly disappointing as it was completely overwhelmed by the mint and tasted of little else.  Puddings were good; my pannacotta with poached rhubarb was lovely and Jassy’s chocolate malt pot was nothing shy of a triumph.  Overall though, Beagle didn’t quite do it for me which was a shame.  I loved the place, loved the cocktails and desperately wanted to love the food, but I couldn’t.

crablambpannacotta

On Friday I made pasta with n’duja.  Now, I really love n’duja – spicy, porky loveliness…BUT WHY DID I BUY IT?  I shouldn’t be buying something that is made almost entirely from pig fat.  BAD.

pasta

On Saturday I had friends over for dinner.  My starter, which I completely forgot to photograph in its finished state, was James Ramsden’s duck rillettes.  Here’s a picture of the duck legs to illustrate just how bad for us this was:

duck

The rillettes were seriously good and actually far easier to make than I’d anticipated.  The flat smelt of duck fat for a few days post-leg roasting but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I served the rillettes with a dark sourdough (wrong – I should have chosen either a lighter, less sour sourdough or just something crusty and white) and cornichons and there was nothing left when I cleared away the plates.  The main course was poached chicken with freekeh from Jerusalem and was a big hit.  Annoying (drunkenly) I forgot to serve the cucumber yoghurt that I’d made to go with it, but I don’t think it suffered too much.

chicken

Pudding was Nigella Lawson’s no churn pomegranate ice-cream (which is just gorgeous and incredibly easy – I make it with a cup of Pom pomegranate juice in place of the 2 juiced pomegranates) with strawberries and persian fairy floss (or ‘pashmak’).  By this time I was pretty sozzled so, again, no photos.

On Sunday I was hungover and feeling pretty miserable so, as I always do, I self-medicated with food and had some salt & pepper squid delivered.

squidThe salt & pepper squid led to a whole world of self-loathing yesterday.  I had to work late so by the time I got home at around 9pm, I was starving and needed to eat RIGHT NOW.  I had some sea bream fillets that needed using up so I  had those with a squeeze of lemon and some bread and butter.

bream

I wish wish wish I bought into Kate Moss’s statement that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’.  I would dearly love not to like food.  I hate that it’s the first thing that I turn to when I feel bad or sad as it just makes everything so much worse.

I lost a pound this week which, in the grand scheme of things, is unexpected and lucky, but I’m just constantly hovering around this weight rather than losing anything significant.  Since I started this weekly blog 15 weeks ago, I have lost 1.5lbs.  Yes.  One and a half.  I think it’s safe to say that whatever it is that I’m doing at the moment just isn’t working, so I’ve decided to go back to Weight Watchers meetings, starting this Friday.  Joy.

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Piggy heaven

I’ve kind of lost my blog mojo, both in terms of writing blog posts (I’ve been meaning to blog this recipe for a couple of weeks and have failed miserably) and doing the actual dieting itself.  For reasons that I’m not going to go into here, I’m not in the greatest of places right now – every area of my life is complicated, stressful and making me sad and I have no motivation or enthusiasm to do anything but try to survive each day as best I can.  Some days it’s easier which is largely down to the fact that I have some truly incredible friends who have gone above and beyond the call of duty by putting up with me.  Other days, it’s not so easy.
Consequently, I am now at my absolute heaviest and the scary bit is I don’t think I even care that much.  I DO, as I know I look horrible and I feel uncomfortable and the numbers on the scales are frightening (not that I’ve looked at those for a few weeks) but I actually can’t be bothered to do anything about it.  I need comfort, which usually presents itself in the form of poached/scrambled/fried eggs on toast or a big pile of rice or pasta, and that’s all that I’m about right now.
This recipe is the ultimate in comforting…the most comforty comfort food I think I’ve ever had.  I grew up in a household with an AGA so casseroles, fish pies, shepherd pies and so on were what we lived on.  That, and the fact that my mum is a brilliant cook, meant that we ate fantastically well and healthily (evidenced by the fact that I only put on weight once I left home, went to university and discovered takeaway for the first time!) but, I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything quite as delicious as these pig cheeks.  Sorry mummy (but thank you @misswhiplash who sent me the original recipe which was in Delicious Magazine – link here!  I am forever in your debt.)
Pig cheeks with leeks and onions (makes 8 portions)
Ingredients:
2kg pig cheeks (in my bag from @markymarket, 2 kg = 24 cheeks – perfect)
Seasoned flour
2-4 tbsp olive oil
5 onions, finely sliced
3 leeks, split lengthways down the middle and sliced finely
10 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp honey (runny, not set)
400ml white wine
400ml chicken stock
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
100ml half fat crème fraiche (mixed with a little cornflour)
Or in pictorial form, here they are!
Pig cheeks are amazing.  Little nuggets of loveliness, unlike the HELL ON EARTH that is an ox cheek – they’re big beasts that are nigh on impossible to get a knife through and make you sweat.  Never, ever try to prepare ox cheeks when you have a tiny baby kitten in the house as it will drive them wild and they will discover that by digging their claws into your clothes/flesh/whatever (OUCH), they can climb all the way up to your shoulder and sit there like a parrot, mewing away longingly.
But that’s by the by.  Now, I don’t know if it’s technically necessary to remove the silvery layer on the top of them (I have no idea what that is even called) but I decided to because it looks suspiciously like it may involve a bit of fat and I wanted to lose all unnecessary fat that I could.  So, trim off your pig cheeks until you have a stack of them that look beautiful, like this:
Heat up a non-stick frying pan and start rolling the cheeks in some seasoned flour.  Add as little oil to the frying pan as you can get away with and then start browning off the cheeks in batches, they’ll probably need a couple of minutes on each side.  They smell awesome.
Once they’re all browned off, leave them on a plate on the side while you get on with the vegetables.
At this point, I switched to my enormous casserole.  I debated doing this bit in fry light, that evil spray stuff, but given that the leeks and onions are supposed to caramelise, I thought that would be a bit disastrous, so I probably used around 1-2 tbsp of oil, added the leeks and onion and fried incredibly gently (lid off) for about 25 minutes, at which point they should be soft and silky and look like this:
Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, pour in the honey and increase the heat under the pan.  Cook this for a few minutes until it’s a bit sticky.  Apparently it’s meant to go a bit brown, mine didn’t and I’m fine with that.
Pop the pig cheeks into the pot, add the wine and the chicken stock, some seasoning and the bay leaves and give it a big old stir.  You need to bring this to the boil and then transfer it to the oven (around 140c – even lower if you want to cook it for longer) for a good 3-4 hours:
After several hours, check that the pig cheeks are perfect (eat a bit!  You totally deserve it) and then do a bit of fishing around for all the cheeks as they need to be taken out so you can make the sauce delicious.  Look how awesome the cheeks are!!
To make the sauce, add the mustard and the crème fraiche to the cooking liquid (don’t forget to stir cornflour into the crème fraiche before adding – @rankamateur’s top tip to stop it from splitting or forming lumps in the sauce, and it works!), bring it to the boil and reduce it so that it’s nice and thick and saucy.  Check the seasoning and then put the cheeks back in and serve, 3 cheeks per person, like this (although a carb with it would be an idea):
My ex has recently moved into a flat on his own and when I visited him about 10 days ago, I took him a few of my freezer goodies to start him off.  On Tuesday night, he had the pig cheeks.  I came into work yesterday to the following one line email:  “OMNOMNOM.”  He’s absolutely bloody right.

Filling The Freezer

I have decided that the Freezer Is My Friend.  Not in terms of ready meals – yacksville except for fish fingers (do they count as a ready meal?) – but in terms of pre-prepared (by me) delicious meals for one.  The sort of thing that I can whip out of the freezer in the morning, chuck in a pan when I get home from work and serve up in less than 15 minutes with some pasta or rice and a couple of my 5-a-day on the side.
My freezer is a pretty scary place.  It’s teeny tiny, yet contains an extraordinary amount of crap including frozen peas, soya beans, quorn sausages (they’re blatantly getting chucked out), chicken breasts of a huge variety of ages, an East London Steak Company steak (WIN!), a bag of wine slush, these horrible little scallops (who knew that scallops could actually be actively unpleasant?), some ropey looking chicken livers, half fat coconut milk and a number of bags of entirely unidentifiable “food”.  Most of this is going to go in the bin (NOT the steak – never the steak) to make space for my new fad.  Filling. The. Freezer.
So far I’ve made bolognese and oxtail ragu.  This is all well and good but I felt like I needed something less rich and with absolutely no tomato in it at all and something that goes with a carb that isn’t pasta.  I racked my brain…BINGO!  Casserole!  Specifically…
Chicken and tarragon casserole (makes 6 portions)
Ingredients:
12 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
100g cubed pancetta (you can totally leave this out, it’s just as good without it)
12-18 whole shallots, peeled (use 18, they go amazingly mushy and delicious)
500g chestnut mushrooms (if you use the baby ones you won’t need to do any chopping at all)
A little olive oil
2 tbsp seasoned flour
2 tbsp dijon mustard
500ml chicken stock
150ml dry sherry (apparently wine works too)
5 tbsp creme fraiche
3 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
or, pictorially:
Before we start, do NOT do as I do.  Unless you have ace kitchen skillz, don’t be cheap and buy chicken thighs that are skin on and bone in.  The skinning is easy and weirdly pleasing.  The boning…not so easy.  My chicken thighs ended up a little bit massacred.  I feel really bad about this, they really didn’t get the respect that they deserved.  (Will someone buy me some good knives – preferably Kin – and teach me how to bone stuff please?)
Anyway.  Take your skinless, boneless chicken thighs and coat them in the seasoned flour.  Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and brown the thighs in batches, popping them into the bottom of a large lidded casserole dish as you go.
While this is going on, deal with your shallots.  TOP TIP KLAXON!!!!!  Shallots are a bit of a fiddly pain in the butt, right?  Not any more.  Cut off the woody root end, put the shallots in a bowl, pour over boiling water and leave for about 20 seconds.  Drain the water off and then peel the skins off – it’s SO much easier than regular peeling and you don’t get the weeps either.  (Top tip courtesy of @rankamateur – she was also the one that told me about this recipe too.)  Here are the shallots:
Once the chicken is all browned off, fry off the pancetta until it’s brown and crispy.  The original recipe calls for 150g – I used less than 100g and I genuinely think that you can leave it out entirely as I made it without for a non-pork eater last night and it was still entirely delicious.  However, if you’re using the bacon, get it brown and crispy and chuck it into the casserole on top of the chicken.
In the bacon fat, saute off the shallots so that they look like this:
Once brown, they need to see the inside of the casserole dish too.  The final bit of frying is for the baby mushrooms.  They want a few minutes of browning off and then – yup, you guessed it – they go into the casserole as well, along with the dijon mustard.
Make up the chicken stock and pour it into the frying pan with the sherry.  Let the frying pan cool down a bit first if you want to avoid extreme bubbling, boiling over and a big old mess all over your hob.  Clearly, I did not do this because I am very, very foolish.  Deglaze the pan and pour the liquid over the chicken/bacon/shallot/mushroom mixture.  Give it a bit of a stir around so that the mustard gets mixed in.  Add a bit of black pepper but no salt at this stage – there may well be enough from the seasoned flour and the stock cube.
Put the lid on the casserole and put it in a preheated oven at around 140c.  This is the bit where you go off and do stuff but, unlike last week when I made the ragu, there’s no real time for a nap.  You have 90 minutes to kill.  I watched an episode of the West Wing, put fresh bedclothes on my bed and painted my nails.  If I had alcohol in the house, I would have tucked into that instead of doing all these good things.
90 minutes later, return to the kitchen, remove the casserole and lo and behold!  This is what you have:
The chicken falls apart, the shallots have gone all soft and silky and melty, the sauce is delicious.  YUM.  You’re not finished yet though.  Pour the liquid through a sieve/colander into a saucepan.  Put the creme fraiche into a separate bowl and stir some of the sauce into it.  If you put the creme fraiche straight into the sauce, it doesn’t really mix in properly and you get little spots of white through your sauce.
Mix it together and then add to the saucepan, whisk it around and then bubble it all up furiously so it thickens up a bit.  Chop up the tarragon and then add that to the sauce, turn off the heat and check the seasoning.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with either mashed potatoes or some rice.
Voila!  This is pretty much my food heaven, it’s just so comforting.  I think that you could easily get away with using significantly less creme fraiche and I won’t be using any bacon in it in the future – I think this is the first thing that I’ve ever cooked where bacon genuinely hasn’t added anything to it.  The best thing about this recipe is that it’s incredibly easy – you don’t even have to chop anything other than a bit of tarragon right at the end.  This is definitely going to be added to my mental list of favourite things.
I still have a bit of space in the freezer though.  What next?  A curry?  Pork?  Chicken again?  Bring on the suggestions but while you’re thinking, make this.

Comfort Eating

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that I’m a comfort eater.  If I’ve had a bad day, my first thoughts turn to what I can eat to make myself feel better…and yes, the craving is almost always for salt and pepper squid or something else that is deep fried and ultimately terrible for me.

This is the bane of my life, it’s what keeps me fat because more days than I would like turn out badly for a variety of reasons.  Somehow I have to break this sadness/stress/anxiety-comfort eating cycle and that’s something that I’m just starting to work on.  Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle it but it’s incredibly ingrained so it’s going to be tough to stop.

In the meantime, Winter is pretty much here and I’m going to try to replace my kind of comfort eating (friiiiiiiiiiiied crap) with good comfort eating – casseroles and slow cooked sauces like ragu.

Last weekend I was invited to have lunch with a bunch of people @ShedLikesFood’s flat.  For the record, Shed is a BRILLIANT cook and I constantly steal her recipes.  This one is oxtail ragu.  I bought my oxtail (along with a couple of fresh-as-a-daisy mackerel) from @markymarket who goes to Billingsgate and Smithfields markets in the early hours of the morning so you don’t have to and then brings whatever you have ordered to your office/home later that morning.  BRILLIANT.  I strongly recommend him if you’re London based.  His website is here: linky.

Oxtail ragu (mine made 9 portions)

Here are the ingredients:

In a large casserole pan that you can put straight into the oven, brown off the oxtail (I had 1.6kg.)  While that’s happening, chop up your vegetables – for 1.6kg of oxtail I used 3 onions, 3 carrots, 3 sticks of celery and 6 cloves of garlic.  They don’t need to be cut up too teeny tiny so it shouldn’t take too long/be too laborious.  Once the oxtail looks like this:

remove it from the pan, add the vegetables and soften until they look like this:

Add the oxtail back to the pan with 1 and a half tins of tomatoes (chopped or whole plum – doesn’t really matter), a tomato tin of water, 3/4 of a bottle of red wine,  salt and pepper and the aromatics:

I used 6 bay leaves, a couple of large sprigs of thyme and 1 and a half star anise (the star anise MAKES this – don’t even think about leaving it out.  It gives a lovely, warm, gentle spiciness to the sauce.)  Bring it all to the boil and then put it into the oven, preheated to about 120c.  And then go off and do other things.  I watched 127 Hours and took photos of Ralphie and my neighbouring gardens:

 How pretty???

Obviously you can do something else.  Have a bath.  Read a book.  Do the Davina workout DVD.  If you’re Shed, you would be putting this together at about 1am and then sodding off to bed and letting it do its own thing (incidentally, Shed cooked hers on the hob on the very lowest possible flame – you can do this if you don’t want to put the oven on.)

After 4 hours (you can totally leave it for longer) it will look like this:

Looks grim, right?  Right.  So, now the fun bit!  Whip out all of the oxtail and set aside.  Put the pan on the hob, turn the heat up to max and bubble the crap out of the sauce.  You want to reduce it right down so that it is thick and silky.  This may take around half an hour or you may not need to do it at all (Shed didn’t) so you’ll have to use your brain a bit here.  While the sauce is reducing, take the meat off the oxtail bones and shred.  You should take a bit of care with this, especially if you are watching your weight, as there are some bits that are a little bit fatty – I was quite fussy with mine and removed all those bits.  There are also some bits that just look like they’re going to be really chewy – ditch them too.

Try not to eat too much of this while you’re doing it…not easy.  Once the stock has reduced right down, check for seasoning (it needs quite a lot of salt and pepper) and then add the oxtail back into the sauce.  And you’re done!  Here is the finished product on gnocchi (shop bought – I’m going to try making my own soon to see if they’re vastly better):

It’s completely delicious – so comforting and silky and soft and YUM.  It’s already one of my favourite things and is incredibly easy, trust me.  If I can do it, anyone can, but make sure you do the following:
(1) Cook it long and on a very low temperature.  If you cook it on too high a temperature, the meat just won’t fall apart and go melty in the way that you want it to and it just won’t really work.
(2) Reduce, reduce, reduce.  I reduced mine by at least half.  You want the sauce to end up the consistency of single cream at least, maybe even double if you can manage it.  The sauce mustn’t be too wet because it won’t coat your pasta/gnocchi properly and if you don’t reduce it enough, you just won’t get the depth of flavour that you’re after.  There is quite a lot of cooking liquid which you need in order for it to cover the oxtail, but you need to get it concentrated.
(3) Season it.  Don’t be scared of salt and pepper, they’re essential and make things taste nice.  Keep tasting and adding but, for the love of god, don’t burn your tongue like I did.  It still hurts, 30 hours later.

So that’s ragu!  Easy peasy lemon squeezy and tasty.  And the best bit is that I got 9 portions out of it so have 7 in the freezer!  AMAZING.  Next up: chicken casserole.  I want a “white” recipe (i.e. no tomatoes/red wine) so if anyone has any suggestions, please pass them on.

F x

The Perfect Bolognese

Friday was a BAD DAY.  I weighed in for the first time in 4 weeks and I’ve managed to put on half a stone.  HALF A STONE!  Yes, OK, I’ve been on holiday…but we never had pudding, we shared a starter twice and didn’t have any the rest of the time…I didn’t even have an ice-cream for the love of god!   I guess breakfasts of spankingly fresh baguettes, butter and nutella every day really took it’s toll.  I’ve also had boozy/eaty nights out this week including The Passage Cafe with @misswhiplash (I discovered calves liver – AMAZING – and the Best Bar in London aka The Nightjar on Old Street roundabout) and The Corner Room with my friend Andrew.

Over dinner, Andrew told me about The Perfect Bolognese which was mooted and published in the Guardian (linky here) and I decided to give it a shot.

It should be stated at this point: FatFran does not like bolognese.  FatFran just doesn’t like tomatoey things, generally speaking.  My previous method for making bolognese was this: lamb mince, bacon, tomatoes, a whole tin of tomato puree, best part of a bottle of red wine, herbs etc etc.  Incredibly rich, heavy, heady and tomatoey.  A little bit of it was OK and others like it a lot, but it really wasn’t for me.

So, if I don’t like bolognese, why on earth would I want to make it? you might wonder.  Simple.  I wanted to use my Spong mincer again!

The Perfect Bolognese (serves 5 FatFrans – i.e. pasta with only a little bit of sauce – 4 portions for most people)

The most exciting bit was mincing my meat!  I used 250g of beef braising steak.

I love doing this.  I could happily only eat minced products if it meant I could use it every day.  It’s SO MUCH FUN.  I used the coarse mincing plate and I think this was definitely the right thing to do.

Next, I prepared my vegetables, Delia styleeeeeee.  This is one onion, finely chopped, 1 carrot and 2 sticks of celery, finely diced.  I also finely diced 40g of lamb’s liver (it’s meant to be chicken liver but Ocado had entirely sold out so I made do.  I think that chicken livers would work better to be honest) and 100g of streaky bacon (around 7 rashers.)  Now I know what you’re thinking.  Streaky bacon isn’t exactly slimming.  However, if you’re making 5 portions, that’s around 1.5 rashers per portion – I can live with that.

Now for the cooking.  Put a good knob of butter (I used lurpak lighter) into a heavy based casserole (I don’t have one so I made it in a regular pan and transferred to a pyrex casserole later) and then very gently fry off the bacon for about 5 minutes, after which you add the onion.  Soften this without colouring for a few minutes, add the carrots, soften for 5 and then the celery.  After a few more minutes, it should look like this:

Then the meat goes in!  Brown off the mince and then add the liver.  It’s once the liver goes in that it starts to smell AWESOME. Meaty, savoury, deliciousness.

Once this has cooked out, add 150ml of milk (technically meant to be whole, I used semi-skimmed) and a good grating of nutmeg.

This needs to be simmered very gently until there is almost no milk left – it took around 20-25 minutes and I pre-heated the oven to 125c while this was going on.  Once that’s done, season with salt and pepper, pour in 150ml of white wine and a tin of plum tomatoes – add them whole, they will break down as it slow cooks.  Transfer to a casserole and pop it into the oven.  The lid of the casserole should be slightly off so that the steam can escape.

After 4 hours, it should look like this:

And here is the finished dish!  I know, my presentation leaves a bit to be desired:

It’s bloody delicious.  It’s quite a dry sauce and seriously meaty rather than over-tomatoey so is right up my street.  I really, really recommend that you make it.  YUM.  Next time I’m going to try it with half beef mince and half pork as I generally prefer the flavour of pork mince.  I will report back with my findings.

After working SO hard, I treated myself to pudding:

Cheers!

My third ever risotto!

Yesterday at lunch, I was filled with ricey inspiration by the risotto queen, @anglikebang, so today I decided to try making risotto for only the 3rd time in all of my 33 years.  I turned to twitter for support…and found NONE.  Jeez, they’re all sticklers for tradition!  So annoying.  All I asked for was a shortcut, but no.  Twitter did not deliver (well, they did not deliver what I wanted, everyone was actually very helpful) and I was told that dumping all the stock in at once was simply not permitted.

So I got home from work tonight and, despite feeling like a big pile of poo (thanks penicillin you complete git) I made risotto!  Here’s how I did it.

Chicken, mushroom and pea risotto (2 servings)


Ingredients
150g risotto rice
1 small onion, very finely diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A splash of white wine or dry sherry (I only had the latter)
15g porcini mushrooms
Regular mushrooms
Peas
Leftover roast chicken
Chicken stock (I used a Maggi stock cube)
Olive oil

Firstly make up the chicken stock with around 500 ml of boiling water, add the porcini mushrooms and leave it on a very low heat.

In a large saucepan, add a little bit of oil – literally only about 2 tsps – and very gently sweat the onions and, a few minutes later, the mushrooms.  Once they have softened, add the rice and stir so that the grains are covered in the oniony, mushroomy, not-particularly-oily-but-let’s-try-not-to-be-sad-about-that mix.

Mmmmmm!  Looks good, huh?  I threw in a glug of sherry (I would have used wine but it would have been a DISASTER if I’d opened a bottle – I am not very good at drinking wine in moderation…it just tastes too darn good) and, once that was absorbed, I started adding the stock, one ladle at a time, making sure each was absorbed before adding the next.

Check out the colour on that stock!  Porcinis are ACE.  Hmmm…it would seem that I added the peas at some point during the process too.  With the benefit of hindsight, I will add these much closer to the end of cooking next time as they were a bit squashy.  So, on and on and on it went with the stock.  It was around this point…..

…..that I got incredibly bored.  Uber, massively, mind-numbingly bored.  So I sort of left it to its own devices and did the washing up and fed the cat with the occasional stir going on.  When the rice was basically cooked, I added some leftover roast chicken and HEY PRESTO!  The risotto was done.

Genuinely proud!  And, given that I finished eating it nearly 2 hours ago, it’s brilliantly filling.  I’m taking the second portion into work for lunch tomorrow although I should hasten to add that this is not technically advisable.  Rice is one of the main causes of food poisoning.  However, I chilled it down very quickly (which is apparently the danger zone in terms of bad spores developing) and I’m going to risk it.  If I never blog again, you know it didn’t go well, and that @darrengdwn was right when he told me that this was absolutely verboten.

Anyway, I can see risotto becoming a bit of a staple in my diet.  I figure that it’s an excellent way of getting stealth vegetables into me (one-third of what I eat has to be vegetables/fruit), so it would be really helpful if you felt like commenting below to give me ideas of what to put in them.  I need variety or I will fall off this diet.  FACT.  And I don’t want to do that.

F x