Fish parcels

One of my very favourite things to cook when I’m dieting is fish parcels, yet I forget to do them at any other time.  I’m actually doing them a disservice – they’re not diet food, they’re basically delicious.  You can put pretty much anything in them that you like and they’re both tasty and really low in calories/fat/points – whichever way you’re counting, they’re good for you.


Ingredients (serves 1)

White fish – I usually use cod loin or sea bass/bream

1 nest of egg noodles

½ red chilli, chopped finely

3 spring onions, cut into chunks on the diagonal

A teaspoon of finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Soy sauce (according to taste – I use about 1 tbsp)

1 tsp sesame oil

Lime segments

Vegetables – you can use pretty much anything but good ones are:

Tenderstem broccoli, blanched for 2 minutes

Asparagus, blanched for 2 minutes

Sugar snap peas or mange tout, sliced on the diagonal

Baby sweetcorn, halved lengthways

Pak choi or spinach

You will also need a piece of baking parchment, about 50cm long.

Boil the egg noodles for 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.  Transfer to a bowl and mix with the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Stir in the spring onions, ginger and chopped red chilli and then turn out into the middle of a length of baking parchment.

Top with your vegetables and then lay the fish on top – if it’s still got its skin, lay it skin side up so you can peel it off easily once cooked (I don’t like soggy fish skin).  Pull all the sides of the baking parchment together to make an airtight parcel and pop it into the oven at 180c for about 20 minutes.

I’ve never managed to make this without the noodles sticking a little to the bottom of the parchment and the fish sticking a bit to the top (quite useful when its skin is still on as the skin will stick to the paper and you can just pick up the flesh) which means that it’s not the most beautiful of dishes when served, but god damn, it tastes good.  Serve with a couple of lime segments to squeeze over and a fun size bag of Maltesers for pudding.



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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.