The Dish
Rod Liddle takes a reformed
commie out for a slap-up
meal Alice Lascelles on the
best blended whiskies
Kate Spicer finds the perfect
wine for Sir Alex Ferguson
Gizzi Erskine offers three delicious, low-calorie recipes
that will delight dieters and non-dieters alike
ast year I wrote a book, Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts,
which resonated with people because of its unconventional take on
weight loss. When it comes to dieting, my philosophy is to stick to
1200-1500 calories a day for six days of the week, then have a day off to
let your hair down and indulge. This is based on findings that show
how dieters who do give themselves a day off are more successful than
those who don’t. There are two reasons for this: the day off from the
routine gives our metabolism a boost, and those who know they’re
going to be rewarded in the near future are less likely to binge.
It’s not exactly rocket science.
I never write diet recipes per se. I love food too much. If you follow
me on Twitter, you’ll see how my life revolves around eating and
cooking. I can’t cut certain foods out of my diet; I’d be too miserable
and I wouldn’t be able to function properly. Instead, I focus on portion
control and a couple of sneaky tricks. Halving your carb load can
save you about 500 calories a day — do as the French do with their
tartines and whip off the top slice of your sandwich. We don’t need
that much bread. Also, weigh your pasta: 80g is plenty for a main
course. Italians eat pasta in starter-size portions, but in Britain it’s
now standard to eat pasta in 120-150g portions — this is based
on greed, not need. You won’t be hungry after eating a smaller portion,
but if you do still fancy something, have a salad. Avoid white flour
and opt for slow-release carbs like brown rice, barley and quinoa.
This really makes a difference to how your body functions and
how you respond to weight loss.
If you’re smart about it, you can lose weight without denying
yourself delicious foods. I’ve chosen three supper recipes that should be
enough to get you going for now. I hope they show how weight loss
need not entail a bleak, miserable existence n
Braised lamb
and barley
Recently, at a food festival in
Padstow, Cornwall, I was squished
between the chefs Mat Prowse,
Mitch Tonks and Sophie Michell. We
were waxing lyrical about what we
like to eat in the winter. And we
agreed that a restorative stew is
just the ticket. Thanks to this
meeting of minds, here is a recipe
for a healthy lamb stew that will fill
your belly and soothe your soul.
Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 mins
1 tbsp olive oil
800g of lamb neck fillets,
each cut into five pieces
1 onion, cut into eighths
2-3 medium carrots, each peeled,
topped, tailed and halved on an angle
2 medium leeks, cut in
the same way as the carrots
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of rosemary
A few sprigs of thyme
500ml of fresh chicken stock
(from the chiller cabinet)
100g of pearl barley
A handful of fresh mint
A handful of fresh parsley
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed
casserole pan. Season the lamb,
then brown all over in the pan.
Add the vegetables, cook for 2-3
minutes, then throw in the herbs
and cover in stock. Pop on a lid
and cook slowly for two hours.
Add the barley and cook for a
further 30 minutes or until the
grains are plump and the sauce
thick. Season to taste.
Chop the mint, parsley
and lemon zest to make a
gremolata and stir through
just before serving n
The Sunday Times Magazine
Flattened chicken
with rosemary,
garlic and chilli
the best
Chicken breast is as lean
as meat gets, but also acts as
a great sponge for soaking up
flavour — try and marinate it for
a good 12 hours. If you need
some carbs to go alongside it,
cook up 60g (for each portion)
of brown rice or quinoa.
Rully Blanc,
Burgundy 2011
Blimey! Nuts, rich
fruit, zesty acidity.
This is old vine,
white (£23.50,
Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours,
or minimum 2 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 skinless chicken breasts
(supremes, with the wing tip
still attached, work beautifully)
2 sprigs of rosemary,
finely chopped
1-2 red chillies
Penne alla vodka
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Pasta is often considered the
enemy by dieters. This recipe
has cream and alcohol in it too, but
only in tiny quantities and, anyway,
adding a smidgen of something
wicked to enrich your food is by no
means a bad thing. Plus, now you’ll
be weighing out the right volume of
pasta, won’t you? Cheese is
optional but it’s worth noting
that 15g of parmesan has around
65 calories…
3 courgettes, each cut
in 4 vertical slices
1 bunch of asparagus,
spears halved lengthways
Juice of ½ a lemon
Lemon slices
Place the chicken breasts between
greaseproof paper and flatten
using a meat hammer or rolling
pin. Pop the rosemary, chilli and
garlic in a pestle and mortar with
black pepper and salt and pound
until pasted. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Rub the paste into the chicken
breasts, wrap in clingfilm and
pop in the fridge to marinade.
Heat a griddle pan until
smoking. Add the chicken and
grill for four minutes on each
side, or until cooked through.
Remove from the pan, pop on
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plates and leave to rest.
Lay the courgettes on the
griddle pan and grill for 1-2
minutes on each side, then
remove and place in a mixing
bowl. Repeat with the asparagus
and lemon slices, and add to
the bowl. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil
and the lemon juice. Season
and mix well.
To serve, top the chicken with
the grilled vegetables and
lemon, and finish by squeezing
over the juice from the grilled
lemon slices n
3 tbsp of double cream
125ml of vodka
Handful of fresh basil leaves
280g penne pasta (70g per head)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Add the oil to a large pan and
fry the onion gently for 8-10
minutes, or until softened. Add
the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes
and tomato purée and
Serves 4
slowly cook the sauce for
Preparation time:
30 minutes until reduced,
For more
15 minutes
thickened and rich.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Stir in the double
thesundaycream, vodka and basil,
and cook out for a further
1 tbsp of olive oil
10 minutes. Season with
plenty of salt and pepper.
1 onion, finely chopped
Cook the penne in plenty
of salted, boiling water
3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
until al dente. Drain and
add to the sauce. Serve with
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
some more basil leaves and
grated parmesan n
1 tbsp of tomato purée
Castello del
fruit and a likeable
animal aspect, like
well-hung game.
Smells posh. Easy
access SuperTuscan-style
(£23.95, leaand
Penfolds Bin 138,
Barossa Valley
Dense with spice,
liquorice and
berries, and
elegant tannins to
keep it grown-up,
this is a wine
everyone can love
(£16.99, drink
Wines for football managers
When Sir Alex Ferguson
complained to Roman
Abramovich about the
poor quality of the wine
served at Chelsea’s postmatch dinners, the
billionaire sent him a case
of the big name SuperTuscan, Tignanello.
The former Man U
manager likes his
wine big in every
aspect: cost,
reputation and
character. Yet, of
all the wines he
has named as
favourites, Tignanello is
modestly priced: recent
vintages retail at about
£80 a bottle. Screaming
Eagle, a Napa Valley wine
he has namechecked and
that similarly apes the
bordeaux style, costs
20 times that.
Ferguson is proud of
his high-end oenophilia,
yet this is a man who
chewed so much gum he
went through three sets
of teeth. How much of his
appreciation was about
palate, how much status
and cost? Given his
national-treasure status
we must assume the
former. Others, less
treasured, of his alpha
type use these wines like
any other status-making
accessory: sports cars,
grouse moors and gym-
bunny blondes.
Which wines at the
Chelsea table caused
such distress? Was it Aldi
claret, £3.99? Or one of
those Saint-Emilions seen
in corner shops looking a
bit unloved and dusty? A
supermarket-level Wolf
Blass? I mean, how bad
was it? We rang
a few clubs for a
browse of the
best wines on
offer in
suites. At
Liverpool FC it’s a £30 rioja
(vintage unspecified) that
retails for about £15. At
Scunthorpe FC our request
for a wine list was greeted
with snorts of mirth: “We
don’t do things like that.”
Ferguson says he was
quite satisfied with the
Tignanello but I thought
it made Abramovich look
cheap. If I were an
oligarch and Sir Alex called
me out on the classless
cheapskate wine on offer
at my club, I’d have sent
a bottle of the Aldi claret
and told him it tastes
better with a lemonade
top. Ideally, he should
have sent a half-case of
ready-to-drink 1982
Petrus: around £50,000.
If you’re going to be top
dog, you may as well be
top dog with bells on n
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