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This week's seasonal recommendation

 

What to cook this week?

Thu, 21 March, 2019

It’s a long wait for Easter this year but not such a bad thing. Lent is about waiting for treats and, faith aside, occasional fasting and austerity is good for everyone, especially those New Yorkers complaining that restaurants don’t make special allowances for huge people. I don’t know; bigger chairs, specially in-cut tables to make space for the belly? I am a bit speechless. Should we campaign for smoking rooms at the newsagents? Reduced price booze for certified alkies? And yes, I’m all for fat shaming: for every malfunctioning thyroid there are hundreds of people who simply eat too much.

So here we are: this week for those who want to lose a little weight, recipes with no special tags, labels or peculiar ingredients because you just have to eat less. Fewer calories = weight loss. Everything else is hocus-pocus.

Let’s go: fish is good. Low in calories, rich in protein and it takes time to eat a fish cooked whole because of bones etc. so that’s another bonus (*wink*). Roast a whole lemon sole or grill a Thai flavoured trout; serve them with buttered spinach or zingy carrot salad.

Chicken is boring but it’s also good if you cook it lean. It doesn’t have to be steamed au naturel; creamy chicken with leeks is tasty but still sensible, with plain peas on the side and a spoonful of rice if, like me, you NEED something to mop up the sauce. Or make it two in one: chicken rice pilaf, baked in the oven, go easy on the cheese in the recipe.

If you’re vegetarian, you have the winning hand already – you’re losing the meaty calories. How about a giant couscous salad with lots of veg and fibre, or Thai cinnamon noodles? Egg noodles are only marginally more calorific than rice ones which I was pleased to find, but use whichever you prefer.

And if you do meal-prep, cook a vat of simple ratatouille and freeze it in portions. And for lunches you can do worse than the Persian sabzi-style radish and cucumber salad; hold the dressing and add it to prepped meal just before serving. Bread is good, especially if you bake it yourself, but stay off the butter except as a treat. And you know how many calories you can burn kneading dough?

No cake this week, of course! Okay – for the skinny few, here’s the courgette loaf cake. In fact we can all have some, as we can tell ourselves it’s one of the five-a-day, etc., but above all, as long as we are sensible. Enjoy your ONE piece of cake and subscribe to the newsletter!

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