Monday, 14 December 2009

Bubba and me

Sorry for the long gap in postings - I haven't dropped off the radar - or off the wagon! Just very very busy and I like to do these postings justice by giving them a lot of thought and attention. Recently we (that is husband and self) acquired Bubba-kegs. We saw a friend with one and thought it was a good product. Basically it is a very large insulated mug. I like to have a mug of tea beside me as I work and with my Bubba-keg (I have the 1.5 litre size and G has gone for 2 litres) I need only do this once and then can sit in my upstairs office glugging as I work. The other advantage of not making frequent trips down to the kitchen is that I don't get importuned by our two cats who think that my presence there is to feed them. They have their own ideas about Ad Libitum feeding! To fill the keg I make up a large pot of green tea, and when it has infused I put half a sliced organic unwaxed lemon into the keg, then decant the tea into it and close the lid. There is a small sipping spout which can be kept covered when not being used. The contents stay hot for about 3 hours. Cold drinks will apparently stay cool for 12. Another good drink in this cool weather is hot vegetable broth, but I intend to ring the changes a lot. I could also make up a big vegetable casserole for lunch but I would have to unscrew the lid to eat it - not a big problem. I am sure there are many products of this kind, but this is the one I have tried, and it suits me very well!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

It's not just about food

While a healthy diet is a vital ingredient in feeling youthful there are other things of importance. I have just spent ten days up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival working as a volunteer for a company that manages a venue. I worked in the kitchen, the cafe, box office, and did cleaning and leafleting. Most of the other volunteers were young enough to be my grandchildren. I spent a lot of my time on my feet, did miles of walking and running up and down stairs. I also ate like a horse - and arrived home weighing slightly less than when I went! So not CRd for that time. (Back on the straight and narrow as sson as I got back) But the huge buzz I got from the vibrancy of the place and the massive engery and enthusiasm was like an injection of youth!

On another subject - I have a small garden, and while I suppose I could fill it with vegetables I choose not to. I do grow fresh herbs, but I can get organic veg from the local farmers' market. In my garden there are flower beds, a rockery, hanging baskets and containers. It is a garden to give peace and visual pleasure. I enjoy being there and just pottering around tending to it. I am sure the feeling of contentment I get from the garden and also the gentle exercise contribute to my longevity as well as my diet.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

At last - the CRONish pasty!

That traditional English dish the Cornish pasty is a nutritional mightmare. The filling isn't too bad, mainly vegetables with a little lean meat, but the surrounding pastry can add 450 to 750 calories per pasty depending on thickness, in the form of white flour, butter and lard. If you were an impoverished tin miner toiling 12 hours a day underground this may well have been the best you could get, but not now! I experimented using bread dough to replace the pastry - fiddly and not ideal. Then I hit on the solution - low carb tortillas. I used Mama Lupe's as that is the only brand I can get in the UK - by post from the low carb megastore. 60 calories each. Make your filling - my favourite so far is mashed sweet potato with chopped steamed leeks and grated Leskol (fat-free cheddar is something we can only dream of over here, and unlike soft cheeses you can't really make it at home). Put the filling on the tortilla - leave enough space so you can press the edges together. Now brush the edges with liquid eggwhite and press together. Pierce the pasty with a fork to let the steam out, put on a plate and microwave till hot.

Monday, 3 August 2009

My little furry friends

I adore kiwi fruit and I have always peeled them, then recently I read about there being a lot of nutrients in the peel. I looked at the peel. Not very appetising and some varieties are actually furry. Still, I washed them carefully and gave it a go. And do you know it was OK. A coarse brush will smooth out the furry ones. Not only do I no longer have the chore of peeling the slippery little things, but a kiwi has become an easily portable snack. And they're only £1 for a bowlful on the market!

Friday, 26 June 2009

The spice of life

There has been a lot of recent discussion on the subject of variety in food and drink, the general conclusion being that the more varied and delicious and interesting it is, the more one eats. The thing is that for so many of us even those on CRON, food is not just fuel, it is a pleasure, and we intend that it should remain so! But there are other ways to get variety without over eating. Friends often comment on the many kinds of herbal teas and infusions I have in my cupboard - right now I am sipping white tea scented with blackcurrant - I also love to use fresh herbs, and spices, and some of the wonderful low calorie organic relishes I get on the farmers' market. Even if my usual lunch is a big bowl of salad it doesn't have to be the identical salad every day or the same flavour dressing. And I love to plunge my fork into the salad bowl knowing that what comes up will be a little different each time.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Inspired by April's recipes using canned clams I have done my best to track down this elusive item in London. So far no luck at all. If anyone has seen any anywhere let me know! Mr Google has not been able to provide on this occasion. Today I went to a deli in Hampstead which does some American products and got a jar of clams. They cost £4.35 for 285g and the label was in Italian but as far as I can see they are bottled in broth. They probably contain far too much salt. I shall have to experiment.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Chocolate drops

Take two teaspoons good quality cocoa powder, stir in three teaspoons Walden Farm zero calorie pancake syrup or chocolate sauce to a stiff paste. Put drops on a sheet of non stick paper - I just ease them off the tip of a spoon with a knife. Put in freezer, eat from frozen. About 1.5 calories each.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Choca choca choca choc me

I love chocolate, the darker the better, but of course it comes with a price - calories. So I wondered how to overcome this. The sweetener was easy but it is the fat content of chocolate that makes it solidify, so I thought of an alternative calorie-free way of making solid chocolate. This is a work in progress and improvements may come along but here is where I am at right now. To make six sugar free low fat chocolates - take 2 teaspoons best cocoa, two teaspoons fat free yogurt, two teapoons calorie free chocolate syrup (I used Da Vinci brand - in the UK this is available by post from the Low Carb Megastore) Mix to a paste. Put a sheet of non stick paper onto a small plate. Drop six blobs of the mixture onto the paper. Put the chocolates into the freezer. When frozen they are ready to eat. Eat from frozen.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Timing is everything

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted anything. Very busy with all sorts of stuff and some jobs just seem to fall out of the edges if you know what I mean. I have had a lot of thoughts about timing of meals and I have personally found it very helpful to have meals at set times of the day. It does help my system to learn when food is going to arrive. It also helps me if I feel hungry because I can look at the clock and say - oh it is 90 minutes before my next meal. Then I go make myself a nice cup of green tea to sip, and busy myself with a job (lots of those!) and the time just zips by. Sometimes I make my meals a couple of hours in advance, so when I go to the fridge there is a big box of fresh salad waiting for me at the right time. This means that the meal is actaully put together at a time when I am not hungry, so I can focus on what I am preparing with a little more equanimity! This season has been very bad for squashes and I really miss the spaghetti squashes I used to be able to get. I hope this coming year is better. I have just found a good recipe for 'spaghetti' made by steaming very finely cut runner beans and serving them with cherry tomatoes. This looks like a 'must make'!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

CR - UK - on the TV

There is a prgramme on 17 February BBC1 at 10.35pm - it is part of series with Michael Mosley and this episode is about life extension. He will be including CR. I have seen his programmes before so I am pretty sure he will conclude that CR works but is hard for the average person to follow. (Of course I have always known that CRers are a pretty special bunch of people) He is a very good presenter and I am sure the programme will result in increased interest.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Keeping my feet

The last thing I want is a fall on slippery pavements, where the recent snowfall has been trampled into a slick shiny surface. So I take fairly elaborate precautions. I don't go out unless I really need to. (One of the many luxuries of retirement!) If I do, I dress in lots of layers including a quilted coat, and I also wear hiking boots, heavy, tough and waterproof, with ridged soles. I have also bought a hiking pole for extra security. And of course I avoid walking on the ice where possible even if it means taking a bit of a circuitous route around patches.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Cocktail time

I don't know why but drinks just seem to taste better from a cocktail glass, and there is something about the glass itself that makes me want to sip more slowly. Cocktails don't have to have alcohol - or even many calories! Pour some of your favourite flavoured water into a glass and spritz it up with something interesting, a dash of lime, a pinch of spice, a drop of tabasco, a mint leaf. Add ice if liked. Now sip with an air of refined elegance.

Monday, 19 January 2009


Tagine is one of those dishes to be avoided in restaurants. Browned lamb - honey on top - well, you get the idea. But the delicious flavour can be recreated at home in a CR-friendly fashion. I used Quorn chunks, though it would work well with chicken, turkey or a firm vegetable that won't disintegrate if simmered. Put enough of your main ingredient for four people in a pan. (I leave these quantities up to you) Add an onion and three cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Add a pinch of saffron, a knob of root ginger peeled and finely grated, a tablespoon of tomato puree, 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, half a teaspoon ground coriander seed, and half a cinnamon stick. For sweetness I use dried apricots (a good source of Vitamin E iron and potassium). Add as many or as few as you wish, but first cut them up with scissors into raisin size pieces, so they will plump up well as they cook. Add some low-salt or salt free seasoning and some freshly ground pepper. Pour on some water - enough to allow that it will have to simmer for half an hour. Bring gently to a boil and cook slowly for 30 minutes, during which time the aromas will perfume your kitchen. Serve with a green vegetable or leafy salad on the side.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Spicy new year

Happy 2009 to everyone! I have the usual resolutions, of course. May we all achieve what we have set out to do. Here is a nice warming spice mix for the cold weather. 1 clove garlic, finely grated, 1 small piece root ginger finely grated, zest 1 lemon finely grated, (I use a microplane grater which does a really good job) small handful of coriander (cilantro) chopped, half to 1 tespoon harissa - I used the Sainsburys harissa rose rub which is a dry mix without oil. Mix well, and loosen with a little water or lemon juice if needed. Spread over fish fillets or whatever you like before steaming or microwaving.
I love ginger tea and find the soft pulp created by the microplane gives the best result, just add hot water and a little sweetener.