Now that I find myself temporarily unemployed and home-bound, my main problem is staying out of the fridge. With time on my hands and constant flavour combinations suggesting themselves to me in my head, I find myself heading fridge-wards a little too often. The fridge and I - as my family will corroborate - have a long and symbiotic relationship; it's not so much that I pick out something to eat each time I pass by, but I find myself quite often opening the door just to check what's in there and spend a few minutes musing on what to have for the next meal, or the one after that, or even tomorrow. I spend a lot of time communing with my fridge. But it's also a tic of boredom and that way, as musings transpire into ever-more complex meal creations, fully-inflated dinghy-shape lies.
So what to do? I have found the best way to retain even a modicum of slenderness (I'm 5ft so really I do need to watch it) is a good 20 mins of walking a day, easily accomplished in my old life by walking to the station every morning and watching the carbs (not obsessively and madly, but being aware of my intake). Now there's no need to march to the station every morning and I don't think clocking up the yards to the kitchen is really any substitute.
For inspiration I dug out India & Nerys' Idiot-Proof recipe book which - co-written as it is with food writer Bee Rawlinson - is full of really good recipe ideas that are filling and interesting without containing carbohydrates. My main problem is breakfast. I love my muesli with yoghurt, but after 5 mornings a week it starts to pall and I find myself craving croissants, sausage sandwiches and bacon rolls - all of which are delicious, but not good on a daily basis. With a little more time on my hands, I can get a bit more creative and save the fry-ups for the weekend where they belong.
Idea no.1: Bearing in mind my recent lizard/piglet-ness and the fact that the weather seems to be sharpening its claws, I'm upping my good fat intake, This morning, I fried 2 strips of streaky bacon and a chopped tomato in a little olive oil. I then halved an avocado and spooned the tomato and bacon into the well and topped with a little Gorgonzola. It went into the oven for a few minutes to soften the cheese and breakfast was done. Tomorrow morning, I shall do something similar but without the bacon.
(BTW - for all of you remarking on the fat content - cheese, bacon, oil - I followed India and Nerys' diet a few years back when I was getting decidedly portly and found that for me , it worked. It is based on the Atkins diet, but what is ingenious is how you re-introduce sensible carbs. I found my energy levels higher, my mood dramatically changed and embedded deep within myself the concept of moderation (hence the continuation of my Sunday morning sausage sandwich).)
Idea no. 2: Similar but use large flat field mushrooms as a base for anything. Yesterday's lunch was the mushrooms baked in the oven with a little butter and garlic, topped with a round of goats cheese and then sat on a bed of watercress with a mustard-y dressing.
Idea no.3: Their idea for a faux-mash made with cauliflower may strike a hint of fear into many, but actually it's amazing and incredibly versatile. The basic premise is to steam cauli florets until tender, then whix them up with a little butter and double cream (or creme fraiche), seasoning and perhaps some nutmeg. Get the consistency right and it's lovely for spooning over shepherd's pie or moussaka; you can add cheese of any description to add bulk and in the recipe book, they suggest adding an egg yolk, whisking the egg white and folding it in and then topping a baked field mushroom, before baking until risen and golden, which sounds an elegant lunch.
One of their most striking points is that breakfast needn't be sweet. As someone utterly without a sweet tooth, I have never found the problem to be pastries and muffins and so on (I even find the fruit in my muesli too much), but rather the ingredients of a fry-up. They go on to suggest that you could pretend you've woken up in Bavaria and feast on meats and cheeses, smoked fish and vegetable-fruits such as tomatoes and avocados, which is an idea I'm rather taken by. Guten Appetit.