I don’t really approve of diets: they are a sure way to have me reaching for the Mother’s Pride within a week. I prefer to take a long hard look at what I am actually putting in my mouth, and then try to adjust accordingly. Mainly I am trying reduce the shocking amount of refined carbohydrate I am capable of eating, and focus on low-GI foods instead.
It’s not sugar that is the problem: I don’t really have a sweet tooth craving thing going on. It’s noodles and rice and pain de Poliane and fresh baguette ancienne and mashed potatoes and all those works of the devil that bugger up your insulin levels, make you sleep like a dormouse twenty minutes after lunch and make you porkier than a little pink pig.
So I’ve been devising simple, quick meals I can make again and again that fill me up properly, taste delicious and have lots of bite and texture. The thing I eat almost every day for lunch is a broth made with (very) diluted coconut cream, vegetable stock & tom yum paste, in which I poach all manner of vegetables, and to which I add either large chunks of beancurd, or some little cubes of dry fried paneer or halloumi.
This version is my absolute favourite so far. It’s simple the freshest possible white mushrooms (for that wonderful resisting texture), a box of mixed shitake and enoki mushrooms I found in Mr Sainsbury, broccoli and some cubed beancurd.
For two people, slice two big handfuls of white mushrooms, three or four fresh shitake and pull a large clump of enoki mushrooms into their individual stalks. Heat a good spoonful of olive oil and gently cook the mushrooms until they are just soft.
Add in a dessertspoon of curry paste. I use tom yum, for which I am developing a mild addiction. But really any paste will do.Then add the cubed beancurd. You need a portion equating to a deck of cards per person. (I like the pre fried stuff from Cauldron or Whole Foods, as there is les chance of it falling apart in the cooking process).
Stir everything together some more, and add in a tablespoon of creamed coconut – I use the stuff in a Tetrapak carton, and enough boiling water to make a very thin soup. (Thai curries are traditionally very thin.) You could also use a can of (reduced fat if you can bear it) coconut milk and thin it a little too. I also add a teaspoon of Marigold bouillon powder if i remember but it’s not essential.
Add in a few florets of broccoli, put on the lid to the pan and steam for a few minutes until the broccoli is cooked. That’s it.
If you aren’t carb dodging like me then I cook a nest of rice noodles per person. They take roughly the same time to cook as the soupy curry. You can also swap the broccoli for any green veg – pak choy, green beans, frozen spinach, even cubed courgette all work well.