Monday, November 21, 2016

Three Cheese and Crab Souffle Bomb - sorry Omelette

Sorry for the radio silence, the last few months have been crazy, we moved...well we bought a house, THEN we moved, and now we are trying to renovate it while we are living here - crazy times.

And now I have a kitchen that is mine, MINE! And all my geekery and gadgets are slowly being unpacked and loved again - we have been in a month, there are still a few boxes to go, I will be fully unpacked by Xmas...hopefully!

Meanwhile, the last few months, weight is still coming off, albeit very slowly, with stalls lasting longer than I would like (not helped by small servings of crap food choices, and too much booze.)

This last weekend saw lots of cooking, and I enjoyed it again, but I have a bucket load of eggs to use up, so Sunday night I decided a souffle was in order....but I can't find my ramekins, so a souffle omelette was what we were going to get!

Without further ado, I give you my Three Cheese and Crab Souffle Omelette!


5 large eggs
50 grams mature Cheddar, finely grated
50 grams Parmesan cheese, finely grated
50 grams Gruyère, finely grated
15 grams butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper
100 grams fresh or canned (and drained) white crab meat
Finely chopped parsley, to serve

  1. Separate your eggs and place the whites in a very very clean mixing bowl, I love my Kitchenaid and am loving any excuse to get it going again! Beat on a medium speed until still peaks form.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl seasoned with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof frypan over low heat, heat your grill (you will need this in a few minutes)
  4. Carefully fold the egg yolks into the egg whites, together with all of the cheddar and half of the parmesan cheese
  5. Melt the butter in the frypan and tip in the egg mixture, use a spatula or spoon to gently spread around the pan and to loosen the sides inwards, sprinkle the remaining cheese and crab meat over the top, and allow to cook on a medium heat for 3-5 mins.
  6. Transfer the pan under your grill and cook on high about 8-12cms away from the heat for 1-2 mins until brown and the cheese has melted and oozey.
  7. To serve, sprinkle with the parsley and eat while it is hot!
Serves 2-3 people (well, one Hussyband, me, a bit for the cat - did I mention we got a cat?, and there were still leftovers this morning for breakfast!)

This works out about 300 calories per serving, with about 22 grams of protein and sod all carbs! A great (treat) for a Sunday night dinner. Or any meal really.

Bon appetite!

Monday, June 13, 2016

8 Months Surgiversary and Stats

It has been a busy few months - we have been helping the mother-n-law sell her house and buy a smaller property, we moved into a rental cottage about 30 mins west of London, and I had a few months contracting up in Manchester which kept me away from home.

I have not been to the gym as much as possible (ok at all) but I have been walking a lot.

We are now settled into the new house, and the sell/buy for the MIL will be complete in less than a month - so life is getting calmer.

Yesterday was my eight-month surgiversary - it was also ten years since I met the Hussyband, so we have a double celebration by going out to dinner. I managed most of a starter and stole a few bites of his pudding - a lush raspberry mousse.

I have been stalled almost constantly since we moved house - alternating between 111-113kgs for the last eight weeks. To say it has been frustrating has been an understatement. I have been constipated - lots - even though hitting my liquid requirements. I am adding in fibre supplements to try and fix this as I really hate Dulcolax which I have been taking once a week just to clear the pipes (funny story, popped two the other day and the plumber - a real one - finally showed up to fix the loo just as they kicked in....OOPS!)

A bad chest infection in April which resulted in ten days of antibiotics and steroids did not help matters either.

This morning I broke the stall, for how long I do not know, and hit 109.8kgs - first time I have been below 110kgs since about 1998.

In terms of measurements, I am still seeing shrinkage on the tape measure - 12cm off the hips and another 7cm off my waist since Feb. It is also becoming evident in my clothes - I am now wearing a size 14-16 dress depending on the cut/fabric (I do prefer 50's style dresses) and thankfully the boobs have stopped shrinking with them firmly planted at the moment as 36D.

There have been a lot of shopping expeditions of late - new bras, knickers and lots of new dresses, I should be right now for the next six months or so, and everything I have bought will be able to be taken in for next year (I am being careful about getting classic styles/shapes that are tailorable - getting a new wardrobe is almost as expensive as the surgery! Well, not quite.

Other than constipation I am not noticing much in the way of bad side effects. The hair loss has slowed back to normal levels, and there are days I still get exhausted and fall asleep early (who doesn't?) The only thing that is niggling me at the moment is a pulling feeling on the right side of my belly about 2 inches above the belly button - not sure if it is muscular or something internal but will touch base with the surgeon again soon and get him to check it out.

There is a lot of loose skin on my upper arms and belly now, which is annoying me, and hotter days is quite uncomfortable. I find the flapping noise most disconcerting when I exercise (the main reason I haven't been to the gym as much of late).

Stall aside I am still on track. I have lost over half of what I want to lose in the first eight months since surgery - aiming for around 80kgs - 30kgs to go! Doctors say you lose 50% in the first 6-8 months, 20% in the next six months, then the final 30% can take another 18 months.

Will take pictures again soon that are not selfies I promise!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Citrus Pepper Chicken with Quick Pickled Red Onions

I am currently working on a project that sees me up in Manchester most days of the week. With a lull in work this week I was able to come home late the other night and actually eat home cooked for a few days (crazy how excited that makes me!)

Having a glut of citrus in the kitchen from last weekend, I played the "Get Gerry To Pick A Protein" game (the closest I can get him to naming what he wants for dinner!) and DING-DING-DING we got winner winner chicken dinner!

So I played around with the cupboard and came up with a nice marinade, and decided it needed some zing, so whipped up these awesome pickled onions that I have been making for years and so really should share with you lot!

So without further ado....come on down!

Citrus Pepper Chicken with Quick Pickled Red Onions

For the chicken:
Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon of lemon pepper (or use more black pepper)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 skinless chicken thighs (I like them with the bone in)

For the Pickled Onions:
3 large red onions, thinly sliced
350ml of cider vinegar
2 star anise
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
8 coriander seeds
1 tablespoon of caster sugar

For the chicken: Combine the juices, oil, peppers, salt and garlic in a ziplock bag and shake well to mix. Toss in the chicken, mix well and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours (mix everything around every so often to make sure it is well marinated). When ready to cook, heat a grill pan over high heat and cook the chicken for about 3 minutes each side to get nice char marks, then place them on an oven tray and roast at 180 degrees for 10-15 mins to cook through.

For the pickled onions: Put the sliced onions in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water (I usually do this three times to really soften the onions). Sterilise your pickling jars (I like the lazy way of running them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle with no detergent). Bring the vinegar and other ingredients to a simmer for 10 mins, and  fill your pickling jars carefully with the onions, then pour in the vinegar mix (for me this does two 400ml jars) putting the whole herbs on top of the jar at the end. Seal and stick somewhere cold and dark.

The onions will keep for two weeks after opening in the fridge, or up to six months if unopened.

Serve with a good dollop of the lush red onions, and some sliced avocado, tomatoes and a wedge of lime (I just had some zucchini to use up as shown in the photo above!)

Serves 4 (or 8 if you are only eating one thigh!)

Nutritional Info (this approximate is according to MyFitnessPal)
Per Thigh: 109 calories, 9 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs (sneaky bastards get in everywhere), 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of iron

Not calculated the onions - you only use a fork full and this makes about 4 cups!

Note: the leftover chicken, shredded, mixed with some onions and placed into a baby gem lettuce leaf made a very nice leftovers lunch for me today!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Haddock and Broccoli Pie

This week we moved into the sweetest little cottage in Twyford, about 40 miles west of London. I have not had access to a decent kitchen for about 3.5 years, I was prepping food upstairs on my desk/dining table/dumping ground then either slow cooking it upstairs, microwaving it, or transporting it downstairs to the stove.

But amongst the boxes and detritus of a house move, I was determined to cook for Good Friday (aka Pants-Free Friday - but that is another story!)

One of publications from home that I still read religiously since leaving Australia is the Donna Hay magazine - I love her recipes, they are guaranteed to inspire and delight, and I have an electronic subscription that pings it to my iPad every two months like clockwork. I spotted her Caramelised Leek and Broccoli Fish Pie a few weeks ago and knew that I wanted it to be the first thing I cooked in the new house.

Since having the surgery, I am more conscious of what I eat. I have cut right back on carbs and fats, hardly ever touch alcohol and my portions are tiny. Yes, me hardly touch alcohol. Crazy talk but true.

So to the pie. And happy Eatser....sorry Easter!

Haddock and Broccoli Pie (inspired by Donna Hay)

150 grams fresh sourdough
75 grams flat leaf parsley
75 grams unsalted butter, melted
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Head of broccoli, florets separated
600 grams fresh haddock (or other firm-fleshed white fish), cut into 3cm pieces
1 tablespoon of cornflour
150 grams reduced fat sour cream
150 mls of water
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 200C degrees. While the oven heats, put the torn up sourdough, parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste into a food processor and blitz until you get a nice mix of crumbs and a few chunks of crust. Drizzle in the melted butter and blitz to mix. Spread the crumbs on a lined baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly I toasted a little long, and lost a quarter of the crumbs to a charcoal like state...but I just pushed those ones to the side. Less carbs is a good thing!

While the crumbs cook, heat a large ovenproof fry pan on the stove. Add the chicken stock, leek, garlic and broccoli and saute covered for about 10-15 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, toss the fish with the cornflour and season with salt and pepper.

When the vegetables have softened, add the sour cream, water and mustard and stir to mix well, add the fish and stir again, then place the whole thing in the oven for 10 minutes. Once cooked, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and enjoy!

Normal Serves = 6 (I eat about half a serve)
Calories: 470 | Protein: 35 grams | Fat: 14 grams | Carbs: 51 grams | Sugar: 4 grams | Iron: 26 grams (according to MyFitnessPal)

Things I will do differently next time: I have already halved the amount of butter by using stock instead of butter to soften the vegetables...I will next time use no butter on the crumbs, and instead spray them on the tray with 5 squirts Fry Light light olive oil spray (at 1 calorie per squirt). This would drop the calories to 377, and the fat to 4 grams - much better!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

It is the little things that mean a lot

The last few months have been kind of crazy. As well as stalling lots, I am helping my Mother In Law sell this house and buy a flat in the area, whilst also moving us into a rental property in two weeks outside of London. 

This week we found out we were gazzumped on the flat, have a confirmed offer on the house, signed the lease on our cottage and I was offered a 10-week contract up in Manchester...well with all the real estate stuff going on, Manchester is sadly not an option at the moment, as we (and by we, I mean I) now need to find a new flat, plus shop for furniture and deal with estate agents and solicitors on behalf of the MIL.

Last night we went to the house warming of some lovely friends, and saw others who I have not seen since before surgery. There is now 32kgs less of me, so seeing people who see me so rarely is great for the ego - lots of compliments and congratulations. It is nice, as whilst I see the difference in my clothes and on the scale, when I stand in front of the mirror (which I hate doing) I cannot see a difference anywhere except my face.

I have stopped keeping bread in the house, but am allowing myself one day a week where I can have a bit - be it a nice piece of ciabatta with potted fish, a cheese toasted sandwich, or a slice of vegemite toast - I get one of these once a week. No exceptions now. I will not have a loaf in the house, the carb fix will be out and about. 

The lovely Debzillah introduced me to Teisseire Gourmet Drops - no added sugar, 7 calories in 100mls of the Caramel (which tastes amazing in coffee or even squirted into a glass of milk), and 10 calories/100mls of the Vanilla (which I am using in tea) - and remember that is per 100mls - you probably have less than 5mls in your beverage!

I have not added sugar now to a hot beverage in over three weeks - highly recommend these little suckers!
Spending time with friends and family after surgery can be hard - especially if you are not out of the surgical closet like I am - but don't hide away, control the situation, like a house party, or a coffee date, or if it has to be a meal, pick somewhere that does small plates so you don't feel like you are missing out (Japanese and Tapas are both full of healthy options).

Learn to accept the compliments that come your way, they are meant with love and support and are not a judgement of what you looked like before surgery, they are a reflection of how they see you now.

Kisses peoples, have a good week.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

30 Second Poached Eggs

Yes, you read that right. Poached eggs in 30 seconds. No swirling, no vinegar, and no waiting!

After gastric sleeve surgery, we eat such small amounts, and they need to be protein rich, low fat, tasty, perfect bites. Eggs tick all of those boxes. One large poached or hard boiled egg gives 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of iron, and is only about 70 calories.

When I was first post-op, runny scrambled eggs were the go. Over the months, I have switched to hard boiled and poached as an easy meal - especially after a session at the gym.

Poaching eggs in the microwave is so easy. I use a small ramekin, you could also use a mug.

Fill the ramekin half full with cold water (if using a mug, go for about a third of the height of the mug in water). Carefully crack an egg in and microwave for 30 seconds (in a ramekin, about 45-60 seconds in the mug). Use a spoon and place the egg on a piece of kitchen paper to drain and you are done. You may need a little bit of trial and error depending on the strength of your microwave (mine is 900 watts).

Simples. So simple, even the Hussyband could make it (if he was out of bed before lunchtime on a weekend)!

This morning I had mine with two slices of smoked salmon (91 calories and 12 grams of protein), the yolk oozed out unctuously, you could add some toasted sourdough, and/or blanched asparagus to this to make it a larger meal. Or if you are up for the ultimate indulgence, turn it into an eggs benedict with the addition of hollandaise sauce and a muffin (but no carbs for me please!)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Facts and Figures - 5 Months Surgiversary

It has been a crazy two months since Christmas. Freelance work dried up as expected in January/February - and I have made the decision to go back into full-time work (I hate interviewing!) We are moving house in four weeks to Twyford (between Reading and Maidenhead, UK) so I have been house hunting for us, house hunting for my mother in law who is going to move into a much smaller place in West London, and helping her get this house on the market.

Oh, and I joined the gym. I made the painful decision not to go back to my beloved PT, as the gym he has moved to doesn't have a pool, and is (to be honest) kind of grotty. So I rejoined Virgin Active and been alternating between a few of their branches, concentrating on Booty Barre (a mix of ballet, pilates and yoga), swimming, aquaerobics and the gym floor where my program is mainly consisting of me not looking like a fool (rowing, treadmill, kettlebells, TRX and upper body weights).

I spent most of January stalled. Not a little stall. A big stall. The needle did not move on the scales from the second week of January until last weekend. I was seeing a difference in clothes, yay. But nothing on the evil machine. Yes yes, stalls are normal. But dammit, I am still allowed to hate them. I adjusted my calorie intake up an extra 100-200 calories and things seem to be moving again.

I am meeting my liquid targets of 2-3 litres of water a day. Some days are easier than others. Why was it so easy to drink a bottle of wine with dinner six months ago, but getting in 750 ml of water before lunch such a struggle?!?!?!?

Energy levels are good - if I do a double session at the gym I tend to crash early (or have an afternoon nap - oh the joys of the under-employed).

So the stats. This week was  five months since surgery, I had hoped to have lost more by now, but according to NOSC I am still ahead of the curve, and everyone loses at a different speed (yeah yeah - so sick of hearing that one, it is on par with "sip sip sip"). Hopefully, once we move and I go back to cooking everything from scratch again I will see more consistent results.

Height: 5'10" (nope, still haven't gotten any shorter)
Weight: 118.4 kg/261 lbs (a loss so far of 28.3 kg/62.4 lbs) 

Measurements: A total of 86 cms so far. The most noticeable being 28 cms off my hips. My boobs have shrunk (sob) but it hasn't been too bad, the majority of the shrinkage has been across my back, and I have gone from a 38DD to a 36C. The plus side of going to a C-cup means I can buy cheap bras from Primark for the first time ever! And they still have a great shape (my boobs that is). I am finding that whilst I am not losing a lot of cms on my arms, the skin is a LOT looser - future plastic surgery there I predict!

Foods I have loved this month: Prawns (that won't change - the ultimate post-gym lunch), Whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese with Garlic and Chives, Burrata with roasted pumpkin, confit egg yolk and pine nuts (Charlottes W5), fresh mint tea (my go-to for getting in ridiculous amounts of water), Potted Mackeral (Hare and Hounds), and Microwave Poached Eggs - perfect eggy goodness in 90 seconds.

The joy of moving - I will be creating recipes again this time next month. I miss cooking. Almost as much as I miss being able to run around the house naked! Almost.