Friday, January 28, 2011

Feta and chilli salad

You've all gone perfectly potty for the idea of low-carb recipes. I had no idea that that was the way to your hearts. I had thought you liked my swearing, my slap-dash cooking instructions and my amateurish photographs.

But it turns out that you all just want to be THIN and want nothing more than ideas for low-carb stuff that isn't grilled chicken and broccoli. Whether you are preparing for weddings, or losing babyweight, or just trying to shift general blubber you all want to be SKINNY and to hell with all those fattie know-it-alls, who try and tell you about being a "healthy weight" and having a balanced diet.

"Fuck you!" you scream. "I don't need BOTH kidneys and heart failure is a small price to pay for being 7.5 stone."

So anyway, not that I'm really craven or desperate to please or anything, but I'll have a care to feature more low-carb things. I mean, it's going to be all you get once I'm on a diet too, so we might as well start now.

But I need to clarify what I mean by low-carb. I don't mean carb-FREE; I think as long as you cut out:

refined sugar (i.e. not fructose, so you can eat fruit)

weight will come off. Cutting out those things is hard enough, without also dodging stuff like butternut squash, fruit and whatever else randomly has carbs in it. Carrots, or whatever. I also don't think it's neccessary (unless you're feeling really hardcore) to cut out alcohol.

And I think a very occasional square of high-percentage cocoa solid chocolate is okay. That is, as long as you can ration yourself to 1 or 2 squares and aren't one of those people who ends up eating the whole bar. Which I think might possibly be everyone.

So, this chilli feta salad is a thing I pinched off Nigel Slater. We had it for dinner last night and although I almost never reach for a salad at dinner - way, way too depressing, especially in January - this was actually really great. As with all these things, I think you can get away with having it with some rye toast or a wholemeal pitta bread. Note I said A wholemeal pitta bread, not 6 wholemeal pitta breads plural.

Chilli and feta salad
for 2

1 packet feta
1 chilli, seeds out, chopped
1 lime
olive oil
3 spring onions
1 avocado, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
chopped coriander
mixed lettuce - I used chicory and little gem

It's pretty self-explanatory but I'll go through it anyway.

1 Cook in some groundnut oil over a very low flame the chilli and spring onion for about 6 minutes. Squeeze over some lime juice and scatter in some zest. Turn the heat up and add the block of feta and leave to cook for about 4/5 minutes each side on a medium-high flame.

2 Arrange the salad-bit on a plate and dress with olive oil, lime juice and salt. Plonk on top the cooked feta and scatter over the chilli, spring onion and coriander.

Eat while looking at a photograph of Megan Fox, and chant "THIN THIN THIN".

Jamie's cherry vanilla affogato

This I'll just mention in passing, seeing as I know a pudding isn't really what you want to know about right now. But I made it so you might as well know about it.

This is from Jamie's 30-Minute Meals and I thought it looked like a clever, sweet idea - and it is. Although the very expensive tin of organic black cherries I bought tasted of absolutely nothing at all. Really nothing. They were more of a texture than a taste. So this is only really worth doing if you can get your hands on some cherries that actually taste like something.

1 Mix up some instant espresso powder (you can get it from Waitrose, it's called "Percol" and it's just like very strong instant coffee - perfectly nice) - with a teaspoonful of sugar. For one cup, you only need about a shot's worth, so for, say, six people you'd need about a cupful.

2 Crumble some shortbread into the bottom of an espresso or small coffee cup

3 On top blob a ping-pong-sized ball of vanilla ice-cream and a tablespoonfull of cherries. Sprinkle over some flaked dark chocolate if you like. Just before serving, pour a shot-sized sloop of coffee over the whole lot. V nice, makes the shortbread go cakey and peps up the vanilla ice cream. And the cherries, if you can find some nice ones, will add extra mystery.

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