Sunday, 6 October 2013

I'm a Changingman

Away back when I started Slimming World my consultant said to the group "Nothing changes if nothing changes". It sounds corny but it is true. You have to make change happen, and nobody else can do it for you.

This year as you know I haven't lost much weight but I've spent the year changing in other ways. My confidence has bloomed over the year and last week something momentous happened: I resigned from my job of over 11 years because I am now a registered Childminder. It wasn't a quick decision to leave and I was sad to go. I know I'll miss my friends but I'm going to do something fun and exciting and new and I can't wait to get started. It hadn't actually occured to me that new confidence might have helped me along the way but Richy asked me if "Old Gem would have done this?". I can't honestly say either way but I'm inclined to say she wouldn't. I've had to tske a leap of faith but I'm confident this is going to be ok.

What isn't going to be ok is weigh in this week. It's been a funny 6 weeks. My gym closed (sob!) and it took me until last week to join a new one. We have had a death in the family, Heather started school (and has had nits and a bug already), I've been on a training course and basically our routine has gone out the window. I have been mostly going to weigh in - gained a bit lost a bit - but I weighed on the wii fit tonight for the first time in 6 weeks. My bathroom scales have been devoid of battery so I haven't been weighing there either and tonight's reading wasn't pretty. I know they say you shouldn't weigh more than once a week but I have always always maintained that for me weighing regularly keeps me on track. I spoke about this once before and what the past few weeks has taught me is that I am right - weighing regularly DOES keep me focused.

Anyway I've been to the gym 3 times this week and I'll be going again tomorrow and Wednesday before I weigh in at a different class. This falls under the category of Damage Control.

If I can just stop nibbling whilst I am a jobless bum that would be great because remember.....Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Ps if you or anyone you know is looking for childcare in the Hamilton area, please point them my way - :-D

Thursday, 25 July 2013

In which your blogger bares her soul

For the first time in 18 months I am genuinely disillusioned. The last 6 months have been hard going, barely losing anything but still sticking to the plan. As the months have gone by I have found it harder and harder to stay motivated. Finally I have cracked.

We had our summer holiday last week, spending time in the glorious sunshine with friends and family. There was much indulgence - wine, cider, pancakes, ice cream and far too much bread. I am paying the price - for the first time really I have gained a few pounds and I can really feel it. I'm not sure how many pounds I have put on because I had a holiday booked in for slimming world this week but it's enough that my jeans (resigned to the drawer during the heatwave we have just had) are noticably tighter.

In a former life I wouldn't have even noticed a few pounds going on but now I feel it almost straight away. Physically I feel bloated, wobbly... and uncomfortable. Mentally I feel disheartened and let down with myself. I feel tired, worn down and barely have the motivation to refuse the bad things just now which isn't helping. Even seeing an old, unflattering picture last week didn't help. (Posted below with a new one of us).

I honestly am considering moving on to something else to lose this final 2-3 stone but I don't know what. I'm scared and lost and I dont know what to do for the best, whether to stick or twist.

What I do know is that I am not done.. not yet.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The King

I think the humble EGG is the actual King of foods. It is so versatile,  nutritious and (my favourite) cheap. As a family we power through eggs on a monthly basis. There's barely a day goes by I am not cracking an egg. Between a bit of baking, hard boiled eggs as free snacks or with salad for me, boiled or mashed with mayo or made into eggy bread for the kids lunch we get through somewhere in excess of 50 eggs a month.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? And yet it isnt like we live on eggs.

I definitely eat more these days than before my slimming world days, since they are free on all plans. We quite often have a cooked breakfast on a Saturday which waves goodbye to between 3 and 8 eggs depending who wants an egg and if it's going to be fried or scrambled (why do scrambled eggs disappear?) and I always keep hardboiled eggs in the fridge for snacks or to go with a salad and feta cheese or ham. It's not unlike me to have a baked egg for breakfast, maybe cooked in a hash brown or ham basket. Finally the classic carbonara (which i don't actually seem to have ever blogged about!) remains a favourite tea time choice for the whole family. Well I say finally, actually I have missed one major favourite, my brunchtime frittata. I call this brunchtime because I have it just as easily for breakfast as for lunch. It can be amended to whatever you have in (prawns and feta are lovely) but this is what I use most often to serve one as a hearty lunch.

1 sausage, chopped into chunks
1 rasher of bacon, fat removed and chopped
1 spring onion
1 or 2 cooked new potatoes, sliced or diced
3 or 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 asparagus spears, chopped
1/2 a pepper, mixed colours if possible, diced
1 spring onion, chopped
Chopped parsley (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

Spray a small frying pan with frylight or oil and add the sausage and bacon. Fry until almost cooked and add the chopped veg. Sauté until almost cooked but still with bite.

Sprinkle over the parsley if using, then pour over the beaten eggs. Tip the pan left and right to make sure the eggs fill all the gaps. Leave on the heat for a minute to allow to base to set, then put under a hot grill until the eggs are set and puffy and gloriously golden.

Season with salt and black pepper and lashings of good ol' fashioned brown sauce (or ketchup/chilli sauce if that's what tickles your fancy).

I do this at least once a week I'd say. This is a great fridge raider too... courgettes work well, as does ham, leftover chicken, chillies, roasted red peppers, white/red onions, cheese - literally whatever you have in. In honesty I prefer lots of filling (which is mostly superfree anyway) to less egg so it's less, well, eggy. You could easily do 3 eggs and less fillings though. Or more. Whatever... at the end of the day, it's your frittata.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Summer summer summertime

The sun is shining! In the west of Scotland where I live this is nothing short of a miracle. It's warm and glorious, and the clear skies brighten everyone's day. Of course, this puts planned cold weather casseroles and the likes out of the window because what everyone wants in this weather is barbecue food.

Generally speaking bbqs are considered less than great in the diet world. All the bread and mayo add up to a lot of excess calories. In the UK we seem to have an obsession with whacking all the grilled meat into its own bread receptacle, roll or wrap. Probably because we get comparatively little good weather, a lot of bbqs are little more than a couple of rubbish sausages, a burger, and maybe a burnt (yet raw) chicken drumstick. These days of course the supermarkets sell ranges of pre-marinaded and skewered bbq products, all perfectly prepared and ready to drop on your grill to ensure you enjoy an exotic tasting high syn feast.

There really is no need for a good bbq to spoil the diet. With a little bit of thought and by using your healthy extras you can do a bbq for very few syns. Chicken cubes can be marinated in garlic, lemon juice, bay and oregano or Cajun spice, soy and lime and seasoned with salt and pepper before threading onto skewers with chunks of peppers,  mushrooms and courgettes for syn free kebabs. Look about to find some low syn sausages so you can still have your snags - my butcher sells a great half syn sausage but supermarkets do them too. Burgers can be homemade for free, and just remove the skins from chicken drumsticks before marinating in spices of your choice or maybe a free bbq sauce. Chuck a lean steak on too. So far you have a pretty good feast, right?

So what about sides? Obviously a large side salad (with or without feta cheese as your A choice) goes without saying. A personal favourite of mine is corn on the cob, thrown straight in the grill and cooked until charred and salted to serve. Another favourite is barbecued halloumi cheese, although obviously this would be synned or an A choice. Coleslaw and potato salads are commonplace bbq sides but high syn usually. I blogged about Coleslaw recently - make your own for acouple of syns for the whole dish: it keeps a few days and is very handy to have in your summer fridge. Similarly potato salad - historically my own version was made with lashings of full fat mayo but I've managed to make a low fat version I am happy with. It's true to my original in taste and here in its simplicity, just for you.


500g baby potatoes - boiled until tender
2 tbsp extra light mayo
4 tbsp fat free yoghurt
Handful of chives, finely chopped
Handful of mint, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Mix the still slightly warm potatoes with the other ingredients and season generously to taste with salt and pepper (salt is the key here). Serve at room temperature. I am being bossy about this - potayo salad shouldn't be fridge cold.

It really is that easy to produce a lowish syn, healthy bbq without boatloads of bread although obviously if you want a roll or something go ahead and use your healthy extras or syns. Either way, it's perfect sunshine food.

Here's to the sun staying out!


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Little old wine drinker me

Most people who know me know I like a tipple or two. A wee wine here, a cold beer there. It's how I like to spend my syns, saving them for the weekend. I've said before I'd rather use my syns for alcohol than food, but with Slimming World that doesn't mean not eating! Being able to cook for myself means delicious low or no syn food.... almost all the time. Fresh is where it's at with Slimming World, and I continue to love that -it fits in so well with the way we have always eaten in this house. Obviously there are some ingredients which are high syn (flour, butter, coconut milk) but these are now treats or substituted where possible.

Clearly though, things have changed otherwise I wouldn't have lost the weight I have (6st 4.5lb so far). Almost cutting out takeaways plus fat and flour have been major contenders but cutting back on the booze has had a major effect too. Back in the old days we would think nothing of having a beer or glass of wine with dinner during the week. Often just the one,  sometimes maybe two, but the fact remains that it was 8-16 syns I am no longer consuming a few days a week.. and they all add up.

When we started this chapter I found it pretty easy to sit in in a Friday night having a diet coke because I had a night out on Saturday. I can't lie - as the months progress that's harder. Rightly or wrongly, sitting of an evening with an alcoholic drink is a nice grown up thing to do after a week of part time work and full time motherhood.

This weekend is a prime example. Knowing I had a night out on Saturday, I SHOULD have sat with that diet coke on Friday night - but I didn't. Instead me and Richy sank a very lovely bottle of pink fizz we received as an anniversary gift. Just the one... but still. I need to source that will power again. I'm sure it's here somewhere...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Happy happy happy

Friday was my birthday. Off plan entirely, I enjoyed a lovely day shopping, eating and drinking with my lovely friend, Lynne. Last week I had the 3lb gain I expected and my hopes for this week are that I can maintain. After all, what with my birthday Friday and a long overdue catch up with old friends involving lots of wine, homemade bread and a trip to our local award winning ice cream parlour, Equis, I've definitely gone over on syns. Still, April is a hard month for me and we are halfway through now.

It is always handy to have a reference point to compare things against though and my birthday weekend is an ideal point of comparison.

This weekend last year I was at my friend's little boy's Christening. I had lost 2st I think. I felt great. My clothes was starting to loosen and the dress I wore on that day was looser than the wedding I wore it to the previous summer. Richy had bought me a top for my birthday which was a touch small but within a fortnight fitted perfectly. It was a size 22, as was the dress.

This year Richy bought me another top. It's  a size 14. And it fits. I went shopping in New Look. I took various size 14 things into the changing room. They all fitted. I picked one top up in another shop in a size 14 and just paid for it, there and then. I didn't even try it on. What's that about?

Another birthday present was a cast iron shallow casserole from mum and dad that I've been coveting for a while. I used it last night to make a tremendous paella (which was happily low in syns to account for antipasti style starter of bread, olives, cheese and Spanish meats... and wine). I've attached a picture of the paella - I was so pleased with how it looked.

The other picture is me at the christening last year and this weekend on the train heading into town with Lynne. Although I recognised the significant drop in dress sizes, when I compared these photos knowing that it was exactly a year I was genuinely shocked.

Made me smile, though. A lot.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

April again?

Sad news... I'm looking at a gain tonight. I was away last week and although what I ate wasn't *too* bad, I had too many pints in my mum and dad's local and thats all extra calories. The trip away was on top of a fun filled overnight trip to Edinburgh, complete with cooked breakfast, dinner out and lots of wine and cider, a Krispy Kreme donut and an ice cream as hangover food so really I am on a highway to nothing. Thankfully I've had a week (almost) back on plan to reduce the damage but with it being the Easter holidays it's hard - a day trip out with our besties and their two girls ended with a few drinks and a pub dinner on top of our picnic. None of this has helped with the weight gain this week but the top and bottom of it is that I've enjoyed every minute and every mouthful.

Despite the gain I am still in the righr frame of mind... no mean feat all things considered. At the peak of this gain (approx 7lb) I could really feel the difference. I've never noticed that before and that shows me that during this (incredibly frustrating) period of little or no losses that my body has been changing. Some of it is mental changes but maybe I have needed this time for my mind to catch up with my body. For the first time in my life I am beginning to feel really really good. I continue to have the confidence to try new things with my hair, makeup and clothes.

The weight will start moving soon I'm sure of it, although the next few weeks might be hard. Anyone who was reading my little blog this time last year might remember a series of posts about how hard April is for me. My birthday is coming up, and my 10th wedding anniversary trip to Oban in a fortnight. I can only hope to get through the month as unscathed as possible.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Checking in

*tap tap tap*

Ahem. Hello? Anyone here?

It's been a funny old few weeks. Still wallowing, still gymming, still not losing much to speak of but most importantly still sticking to plan. Mostly.

In the last few weeks I've lost 2.5lb. I am now only half a pound from my 6.5st award which is still proving hard to achieve. Unfortunately I have a week holiday from Slimming World this week so I won't be getting that award this week but hopefully the damage I do this week won't be so bad that I can't squeeze a wee half pound off by a week on Wednesday.

That said, this weekend is Easter weekend and although it isn't chocolate a-go-go in my world, I had a very hefty night out on Friday (drinks, dinner, more drinks, chips, full English) followed by a visit to my mum and dad's (cake,  wine, gravy, puddings). We are off work this week which makes things worse, but we have a quiet weekend ahead and hopefully we can eat well and be back on plan on Wednesday and right back on it when we get home on Wednesday night.

I think the main reason I haven't posted for a few weeks is because I don't have anything new to say. There are only so many times you can say the same thing, after all. Changing shape, toning, losing inches. Blah blah blah...! It's all true but I just want to see that number going down. 2lb will get my into the next stone down and I can't wait for that.

Anyway, here's a progress picture from this weekend. Excuse the cheesey grin, folks.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Still here

Still floundering. Still treading water. Still on plan. Still faffing around. Last week I gained a pound. I didnt know why and I still don't really. What I do know is that after weigh in last week I felt massively deflated and for the first time since I started this whole journey I wanted to drown in a sea of wine and pizza.

Importantly, I didn't. I am aware that although the scales are stubbornly not shifting just now, my shape is. An outfit I wore just a few weeks ago looked much better on me this weekend and it's key that I keep these changes in mind.

In my last post I said I was going to drink green tea, increase my water intake, try red and green days and be vigilant. I can honestly say I have done all of these things as well as a few Success Express days and going back to and - importantly - joining the gym which is a bizarre ritual in this new life I never thought I'd see myself doing. Green and red days are a bit odd so far. Green come more easily and naturally to me but I think the almost carb-less red days are worth doing. The extra A and B choice is nice to have too but it encourages me to eat more bread... which is NOT a good thing! Last night I had my favourite red day dinner so far - North African eggs with sausages. It was quick to prepare and so delicious, just like my homemade coleslaw which I have served this week with pulled pork sandwiches and salads and it's great to munch on from the fridge.


Half a white cabbage, finely shredded
Half a red onion, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 radish, grated

1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1 tbsp extra lighy mayo
Juice of half a lemon
A good pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Finely chopped coriander, to serve

Mix together your dressing and season to taste. It needs a good amount of salt and pepper so don't be shy!

Toss through your vegetables, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavours to develop and the veg to soften slightly.

With summer coming this is a great recipe to have up your sleeve. The best bet? This will keep for 5 days or so - if there's any left! ;-)

Bon appetit!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Stuck in the middle with... me

I never wanted this to be a blog about how perfect it all is. That's not real life. This weight loss game is all well and good when the going is good, but what about when the going is less good? What then?

I will come clean - I am stuck. I got my 6st award well before Christmas and have yet to get my 6.5st award. I have hit a plateau and I am pissed off, not least because I am far from being done. I also don't really know what to do about it, having never really had any problem before. A few people have suggested that my loss might simply be slowing and I get that to a degree... but I have another 3 stone to go before I set target, and target MAY be lower than that. I can't help shake the feeling that if I can jump the hurdle of my 6.5st award then things will start moving again in the right direction.

I have a feeling I might see a gain this week - or maybe another maintain - so in the absense of any official help I am basing my next moves on advice I have picked up from other people over the past (almost) 13 months.

Drink green tea
I am told this can boost metabolism. Is this true? I have no idea, but it can't harm.

Increase water intake to 2l daily
I've actually been doing this anyway for he past few days so I will carry on. Again, it can't harm.

Be vigilant
Extra care with healthy extras and syns and the amount of superfree I am eating.

Try Green and Original days
This is a biggie for me because I have been an Extra Easy girl (no jokes please) from the start. Green allows unlimited carbs and limits meat and Original (or Red as it is sometimes known) is the othet way about. You can still have meat/carbs, just you need to measure them out and they are much more restricted.

Hopefully if I can successfully manage some green/original days I might be able to kick start my system. Maybe I'm too used to it now. I suppose I am. I don't NEED to look at my book much now (although I still do) because I know what I can and can't have. Tell you something though,  nothing changes if nothing changes... and something needs to because I am so not finished changing yet.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Keep it real

This post is not entirely diet related in the sense that it isn't so much about Slimming World as our diet more generally.

Nobody in the UK can have possibly missed the recent furory surrounding the discovery of horse meat in our processed foods. In case you have managed to avoid this (or are an international reader) in a nutshell certain major supermarkets and fast food chains have been found to be selling products claiming to be beef but which actually contain a certain amount of horse meat. Today a major UK frozen foods brand revealed that up to 100% of the meat in its BEEF lasagne is not actually beef... it's horse. A further suggested piece of EU legislation (which apparently the UK is trying to get an exemption from, should it become law) would see mince only have to contain 50% meat, the other 50% being (I assume) fat, water and unmentionables.

Really? Is this how far removed we have become from the food we eat? Do we really care so little about what we eat that these companies can substitute meats like this? Because the reality is that people will still buy frozen ready meals. I know that in other parts of the world horse is an accepted meat, but not here in the UK. Loads of people are aghast that "trusted" brands could lie to us like this. Many won't care that much. As a nation we have become massively detached from our food, unaware of where anything comes from, unable to cook on any level at all or even really want to. "Why stand and make a lasagne when *insert food producer here* will sell me a frozen one for my whole family for £3?" It's a good question - I can't make a lasagne for 4 people for £3, but then mine contains beef... and vegetables... and not an -ism or -ate to keep it fresh for months on end.

I know I go further into making my own food than most - I don't know many people who occasionally make their own butter, for example. I know I am slightly unhinged and a bit obsessive about fresh ingredients, and I'm not asking or expecting anyone to go to the lengths I do to feed my family. There isn't anything wrong with buying carefully selected jars and packets but what I would like to see in the UK is for us to give more of a toss where our food comes from. Let's get Home Economics (my missed vocation) back in schools. Let's make fresh foods cheaper than bulked out ready meals. Let's stop our supermarkets taking all of our money and bring back proper markets. In honesty, it's this household food policy which has helped me to lose almost 6.5st this year.

And here endeth the lesson. Next time, more diety goodness. I've attached a recent salad picture to keep you going.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A year in - PICTURE POST!

Last week was my 12 month anniversary at Slimming World. I lost 3.5lb so my total loss for the full 12 months is 88.5lb. That's 6st 4.5lb in real money. Christmas weight off, plus a bit more so it's onwards and, well, downwards. Originally I had hoped to lose 2.5lb this week but that ain't never gonna happen after my weekend. I'll be happy with a wee bit off though and I'll get my 6.5st award the week after next. Ultimately the goal is 9st I think, or thereabouts so a way away yet but I hope to get there by the summer.

Anyway this post is less about where I'm going and more about where I've come from. The picture in the blue and white dress was taken in summer 2011 and the other one last weekend.

Take a look!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Last week I maintained my weight. Far from ideal to be honest. According to my scales at home - and my Wii - I was expecting a couple of pounds off. Undeterred, I've had another text book week. Well within my syns again, I am praying that maybe, just maybe, my loss will catch up this week giving me a bumper loss tomorrow.. hopefully. With a total loss of 85lb I need to get a loss this week to keep up my momentum.

Food wise, we are still powering through Jamie's 15 Minute meals, proving again and again how easy it is to cook low or no syn grub on Extra Easy. Last Wednesday after weigh in we treated ourselves to a chicken shwarma kebab, recipe courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, and Richy cooked us a family meal of chicken cacciatore at the weekend. It was so delicious even Heather ate the hidden mushrooms which she claims she doesn't like!

The big news this week is clothing related.  Armed with Christmas money, I took a trip to New Look - a shop previously off my radar. They do have a Plus section in fairness, but in honesty walking through the "normal" section to get to it was too awful and uncomfortable - dragging yourself through the thin person racks to get to your "bit" isn't fun. I had fun though, perusing the normal clothes... taking clothes to the changing rooms..  disregarding the ones which were too BIG... walking out on cloud nine with a bag of size 14 loot. That's right folks, 14s. Another size down in my jeans too and even the shoes I got were a 5 instead if my normal 6. Who knew feet would shrink!?

Tomorrow marks one year since I joined Slimming World so this weekend when I go out in my new togs I'll get a photo and do a then and now for my next post. Bet you can't wait!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

In the middle

I've been back to class and weighed in. I have gained 3lb since the week before Christmas and I am quite happy with that. I predicted 3 before I jumped on the scales so it's all good. This means now that my interim target is 3st away, and I hope to get that by the middle of the year. Last night was a rare occasion of not staying to class, but I did leave clutching my new pack (it's so pretty!), the new Slimming World magazine (which is discounted in group) and full of promise for today and my ongoing journey. Under the circumstances the gain hasn't dampened my spirits - I'm simply inspired to carry on.

And carry on I have. I have gone right back to basics today. It's a new year and a fresh chapter for me so I want to refresh myself with the plan and get interested again. There are lovely new things allowed as A and B choices (nuts!) so I really need to check the book regularly just now to make sure I am making the most of the plan.

When Megan was asleep and Heather was at nursery I had my lunch, browsed the new magazine, planned a week of dinners using my new books and read my new Food Optomising book, just like the new members. Also like all brand new members, I am writing a food diary again. Slimming World ask you to keep a diary for at least your first four weeks but I only did two last year before I bored myself. I'm hoping that I can manage at least two this year and that it makes me think again about what's going in my mouth. Will power back in place, I even refused to eat Megan's leftover pizza despite being starving hungry! My lunch of carrot, coriander and lentil soup from the new magazine that I whipped up this morning was wholesome, delicious and filling but hours ago and I'm now more than ready for my tea of Greek Chicken and couscous from Jamie's 15 minute meals.

The soup making thing was a spur of the moment thing, inspired by a box of carrots which needs using and seeing the recpie in the magazine. Quick, tasty and warming it was perfect for this freezing day. The girls had some tomato and orzo soup which I think is my favourite. That's quite a statement when you know how I feel about soup. Both soups are delicious although the tomato gets the edge for me, sprinkled with black pepper and parmesan. Honestly though it's just nice to have found a couple I can eat, offering me a healthy, free lunch which isn't salad. Much as I love a nice salad I want heat in the winter.

Anyway I'm off to get my tea on, fill my tummy and look forward to day 2.

See you there!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Indian Winter

I could bang on and on and ON about how wonderful recipe books are. Honestly, there are few things I love more. This week I've gone through my new books, pulled out some recipes and had some great free or low syn dinners. Jamie Oliver has brought us Chilli con carne meatballs with lemon bulgar wheat (more on that in my up-coming series of posts on the subject of 15 minute meals, but what I will say is that bulgar wheat is now On My Radar). Tomorrow, Nigella is bringing me  butterflied leg of lamb with bay and balsamic vinegar. Suitable for the whole family, I suspect I will serve this up with veggies and syn free herby roasties. As for tonight,  we dined on a Gordon Ramsay recipe from his new book; Ultimate Cookery Course.

Without being immodest, I'm no novice in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean that this book can't offer me anything. I've already made a soup for Richy from it and then tonight's massively successful dinner of murgh makhani (butter chicken). Make again? You betcha. I'm not part of the "better than a takeaway" crew. If I'm getting a takeaway it's because I don't want to cook or I don't want to clear up. Simple. However since starting Slimming World takeaways are a massive treat and the fact that tonight's cooking took less than half an hour and cost me a fraction is really neither here nor there.

So here is is, slightly adapted from the recipe as published: Coriander, Ginger and Chilli butter chicken, the way I made it.

Serves 4.

500g chicken thighs, cubed

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp grated ginger
1 red chilli finely chopped
Juice of 1/4 lemon
2tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1tsp cumin seeds,  toasted
1/2 tsp turmeric
150g fat free natural yoghurt
Salt and pepper

1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp garam masala
1/2tsp turmeric
Pinch chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
25g butter

Coriander to garnish

Mix the chicken with the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon juice (marinade list). Grind your toasted seeds and mix with the yoghurt and turmeric, add salt and pepper and pour over the chicken. Mix well and allow to marinade for as long as possible, overnight is best.

When you're ready to cook, heat a pan on a medium heat and spray with frylight. Add your chopped onion, a pinch of salt and a drop of water. Allow the onion to soften slowly for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, fry for 1 minute then add the ginger and fry for another minute before adding your ground spices (and a bit more water if it gets too dry). Once it smells aromatic, add the tomato puree and mix in well. Add the butter and allow to melt before stirring.

Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and add the chicken to the pan. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, lower the heat and add the remaining marinade to the pan. Cook gently for 5 minutes - don't cook on a high heat or the yoghurt will split.

Serve with rice, sprinkled with coriander leaves and enjoy!

I calculate this to be just shy of 2 syns per person on Extra Easy, although as always I would recommend you check your own syn values. Mr Ramsay's printed recipe is as above only he uses oil or ghee instead of frylight. Whether you make it his way or mine, try it.

I'll definitely be making it again!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, new me

Happy New Year!

Did you eat? Did you drink?

Were you merry?

I did. I was. Ooft.

Every other diet I've ever done has stopped way way WAY before Christmas so I haven't ever had to consider it as an issue. Obviously this year is different because I actually made it to... well,  past April to be honest.

I've enjoyed my Christmas and New Year. It only comes once a year and I love it. I haven't weighed in officially but my scales reckon about 7lb on. I'm not worried about that. It was an after dinner weigh in for starters, and I can be up 4-5lb on an average Sunday night and still lose 2-3lb on the Wednesday so I'm hopeful that by a week today when I go back to class most if not all of that will have gone. I retain water badly after drinking and seeing as I was mostly drinking for the last few days it's no surprise to me that I'm holding on to water. Anyway I said before Christmas that if I can go back next Wednesday still retaining my 6st award I'd be happy and I stand by that. I think...

I am bizarrely excited to get back to normal. To detox a bit I suppose, cut back on the booze and get back on it. My body needs it. After 2 weeks off plan to varying degrees I am lacking in energy, slightly headachey and *whispers*... a bit gassy. The change in food hasn't agreed with me especially and I would never have believed it would be the case. I suppose a year is a long time though (they reckon it takes 6 months to form a habit) and over the year my habits have definitely altered. On the way back from my mum's today Richy joked of an old habit "will we get a pizza tonight then?"... how we laughed! We have changed. I have changed. And it's a lifestyle change I'm glad to have made. Instead of a takeaway we sat as a family and ate prawn linguine - it was from Jamie's 15 minute meals, was quick (obviously), delicious (naturally), free on Extra Easy (mais oui)... and even better, the kids wolfed it down.

Tonight I'm sat here,  having had my first day back on plan and raring to go. I've browsed my Christmas gifts of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, Nigellissima and Gordon's Ultimate Cookery Course and have planned my week's meals using all three books.

Can't wait to get started!