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Yesterday we had a Pure Protein day, which is one of the weekly things a Dukaneer must do in perpetuity. I confess that I haven’t been doing this as rigorously as I should. I have been managing weekly PNP (Pretty near Protein) days however. But yesterday was the Real McCoy.
BTW, I ended my Consolidation phase about seven weeks ago and have stayed whippet lean, so this diet really does work. Mainly because my eating habits have changed for the better. For instance, when Steve and I were in Ireland, on about 3 – 4 days we found a corner shop and bought some cooked chicken or ham for our lunch. Lunchtime restaurant menus are so carb heavy. But I digress.
I started my PP day with Faux Malt-o-Meal since it was a chilly, grey day.
Chocolate Malt-o-Meal is one of my favourite hot cereals and I’ve made a tasty Dukan version.
- 3 tablespoons oat bran
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Truvia
- ¾ cup skimmed milk
Put the dry ingredients in a pan, stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Whenever I cook hot cereal, I remember being a kid and my Mom holding me when she made oatmeal so I could see the bubbling mudpots, just like we saw at Yellowstone National Park.
Let stand covered for a few minutes. Serve.
Later on, I went out to the hardware shop and saw that the mobile fish monger was in town.
I bought some skate wings (which we’ve never eaten).
Apparently, many fishermen consider skate ‘garbage fish‘ and usually toss them back, but skate has been making a mouth-watering appearance on the dinner table for a number of years. They’re beautiful, like angel wings. I got two for £3.25.
There are lots of great recipes, the French classic being pan-fried with beurre noisette (brown butter) and capers. I adapted the method for our Dukan day.
Grilled Skate Wing with Capers and Lemon
- One skate wing per person
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
I seasoned the wings and sprayed them with some olive oil, then grilled them on parchment paper for 5 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other. A squeeze lemon juice and a sprinkle of capers to finish and voila! the perfect first course.
They were very tasty indeed. A bit odd to eat, because the striations you can see in the photo are strands of cartilage, so we scraped the meat off. The flesh was delicious with a velvety texture. The lemon juice and capers made a good contrast to the sweetmess of the meat.
We followed this with grilled rump steak, which I haven’t pictured here. We all know what a perfectly cooked steak looks like, right?
Image source – Florida Museum of Natural History
Get ready for a delicious and vibrant experience. I love hot weather cooking and the bright colours of summer vegetables. This is a Dukan adapted recipe for meat stuffed peppers.
First off, I made Marinara Sauce. The recipe in my Italian cookbook, The Best of Italy, calls for ½ cup of olive oil! There’s really no need for such unctuousness. BTW, this is easy to make and freezes well. The flavour is pure and clean and it can be used on any number of pasta shapes or on pizza.
- 1 onion diced
- 3-4 cloved garlic, minced
- A little olive oil
- 500g passata di pomodoro
- 150g tomato paste
- 4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sweat the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil and some water. Stir in the tomato products and season.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes.
Then, purée the mixture through the finest disc on a food mill.
Simmer for a further 15 minutes. That’s it!
The stuffed peppers recipe is one of those eyeball recipes. Allow one pepper per person and estimate the amount of ground meat you’ll need. I use hamburger, but ground turkey, chicken or veal would work just as well. These are great reheated after a couple of days, so I usually make several at a time.
Meat Stuffed Peppers
- Any number of bell peppers, halved, seeded and blanched for about 4 minutes
- 1-2 onions, diced
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- Ground meat
- 1 egg
- 3-4 tablespoons of oat bran
- Dried herbs to taste, eg oregano, basil, herbes de provence
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cherry tomatoes for garnish
Sweat the onions and garlic as before. Mix these with all of the remaining ingredients and fill each blanched pepper half. Steve beautifully prepares the peppers, slicing through the middle of the stem.
Place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Spoon marinara sauce liberally over the meat and garnish with a whole cherry tomato. Bake at 350°F/170°C for about 45 minutes.
Some hardcore sartorialists still adhere to the (outmoded) maxim of ‘You can only wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day’.
Where did this start anyhow? According to Charlie Scheips, author of American Fashion, “All the magazines and tastemakers were centered in big cities, usually in northern climates that had seasons,” he notes. In the hot summer months, white clothing kept New York fashion editors cool. But facing, say, heavy fall rain, they might not have been inclined to risk sullying white ensembles with mud — and that sensibility was reflected in the glossy pages of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, which set the tone for the country.
Well, I say ‘Stuff that!’ I’ve recently purged my wardrobe of several 2 sizes too big, baggy pants (courtesy of the Dukan Diet). I’ve really had to scrounge around for replacements. I’m about a UK size 6 and lots of clothing shops stop at size 8. But, I’ve persevered and found some great white Tommy Hilfiger Rome wide leg cotton/linen trousers at TK Maxx. We had a heatwave end of last week, so I consulted my UK Fash-Guru, Kev Evans, on the matter of white trouser/footwear etiquette in Merrie Olde. He advised, ‘Brits are only allowed a few days of sunshine per year, so make the most of it and wear whatever rocks your world’ and as an afterthought, ‘We must work in tones, not colours, sweetheart!’
Here’s how to do it (with the right accessories of course).
1) Dark sunglasses and a Badass Atttitude:
2) Don an insouciant hat:
3) Distract ‘em with a bouquet:
Seriously, I love these pants. Über-comfy and ultra stylish. I usually don’t like back pocket flaps, but these work for me. The belt is seriously long, but I quite like it tucked into one of the back loops.
I also teamed up some off-white pumps with Gas skinny jeans (got lucky again at TK Maxx) and a rose sleeveless knit Great Plains top I got for a fiver from Relevant, a vintage/used clothing shop in Exeter. No website, I’m afraid, but you can find burlesque queen and clothier Lady Lace on Facebook.
Much to the chagrin of sartorial purists, skepticism of the Memorial to Labor Day law has seeped into mainstream America. From 1960s counterculture to the present day — when would-be fashionistas get as many ideas from blogs and friends as from magazines and Fashion Week — more people than ever are breaking the rule. Even the 2004 manners bible, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, gives the go-ahead for wearing white after Labor Day. Which may explain why some who abide by the custom themselves are now willing to compromise. Scheips, for one, “would never be caught dead wearing a white suit after Labor Day.” But neither does he completely write off those who do. “I’m sure the Queen of England at Christmastime puts on white ermine once in a while. So if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for everybody else, right?” he says. “You don’t have to be a fascist about it.”
Even though I’m nearly finished with this Dukan lark, I’ve set it as a challenge to find and master a few decent Dukan dessert recipes. I haven’t made very many in the past three months, mainly because Steve doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I could take it or leave it (for a few weeks) and when we did entertain, we served something non-Dukan of which we either didn’t partake or I enjoyed it as part of a celebration meal once I was on the Consolidation Phase. I did try out a couple of Dukan dessert recipes, but to be honest they were a bit dismal. We got La pâtisserie Dukan which is written in French, so I’ll try a few of those once I translate the recipes.
In the meantime, today I made gingerbread using a recipe from The Dukan Diet Life Plan, with a couple of modifications. It called for 3 eggs, plus 3 egg whites. I omitted the whites. They didn’t seem integral to the recipe and what the heck am I going to do with 3 egg yolks? Even though I have been, for the most part, completely obedient to the Good Doctor, I will not use Aspartame, a synthetic sweetener. We use Stevia or Xylitol which are both plant based. So here goes. BTW, this can be eaten in the Cruise Phase.
- ¾ cup fine milled oat bran
- 2 tablespoons powdered skimmed milk
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-2 tablespoons gingerbread spice mix (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves & nutmeg)
- 2-3 tablespoons sweetener, to taste
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup fat free fromage frais or non-fat Greek yoghurt
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the eggs and fromage frais.
Another critique I have of Dukan dessert recipes is that they don’t specify size of baking dish. I’m not very good at transmuting volume by eye, so I measured the capacity of my loaf pan by putting water into it and pouring it into a jug, then poured the batter into a jug to measure the amount, then put it into the loaf pan. This recipe yields 2 cups of batter.
I studied Child Development for about a year in college and remember learning about Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget and his theory of Genetic Epistemology (the study of the origins of knowledge).
Towards the understanding of mathematical development, Piaget conducted various experiments in which he provided tactual representations of mathematical concepts. He believed that a child’s ability to solve spatial relationships are a precursor to true understanding of mathematical operations.
To test for conservation of continuous quantities, a liquid of the same amount exists in two identical containers, and the child acknowledges that the amounts are equal. Then, the liquid in one is poured into a container of different shape or multiple containers, and the child is asked which container has more liquid.
Piaget places the children into three stages based on their responses.
- The youngest children, in the first stage, generally identify the taller container or the more numerous containers as having more liquid. If the transfer is to one container, they can only reason in one dimension- in this case, height- and this perception is more important than whatever concepts of conservation they might have. Likewise, the presence of more containers is assumed to indicate more liquid.
- Children in the second stage (about four years old) may recognize conservation if height differences are small or if the original liquid is poured into only two smaller containers, but more extreme changes lead to failure.
- The third stage (about six years old) signifies an understanding of conservation; children can see that an increase in height can be compensated for by a decrease in width, and multiple containers do not change the volume of the liquid.
So I guess that as well as mastering Dukan desserts, I may just move up a stage (or two) in my mastery of the concept of conservation of quantities!
Bake at 350°F/180°C for about 35 minutes. I try and remember to cover my cakes and breads halfway through with foil so they don’t brown too quickly.
It’s pretty darn good. I may have put too many cloves in, but it has a light texture and good, moist crumb. Now that I have the proportions mastered, I might make a chocolate version!
Info source: Jean Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology
Edward O. Wilson, mymecologist and Pulitzer prize winner, estimates that there are between ten to the sixteenth and ten to the seventeenth ants in the world.
I saw this photo on Facebook a few weeks ago.
When I got into the Dukan Consolidation Phase several weeks ago, I thought I’d be PC and get a reduced fat butterish spread for my morning toast. So I got Lurpak Lightest Spreadable. I should have been tipped off by the fact that it’s not even called butter. The ingredients are as follows: Butter (27%), Water, Vegetable Oil (19%), Lactic Culture, Milk Protein, Salt (1%), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate). It was OK, but I was perturbed when I tried to melt a pat of it in a saute pan and it didn’t. Melt that is. The other ingredients are benign, but it wasn’t quite right.
Since I’ve been living in the UK, I always get spreadable butter, because the ambient kitchen temperature is so darn cool that when stick butter is at room temp, it’s still too hard to spread. So now I’ve gone onto Lurpak Spreadable which is 89% butter and I can cook with it, if necessary. I’m still not using as much as when I used to do full on French cooking, but butter does make a difference. I use President unsalted butter for cooking and to flavour my popcorn.
Movie still: Them, 1954
Tonight is meat night, as usual, at Chateau Schwakhofer-Coxon. When we go shopping, we get whatever meat is on special offer and plan a carnal offering around it. So tonight it is turkey mince and I used my new silcone quiche dish. This recipe could be cooked in any sort of pan, eg loaf, muffin or even shaped into patties and cooked in a skillet.
- 16 oz ground turkey
- 4 tablespoons of oat bran
- 1 diced medium-sized onion
- 1-2 tablespoons diced jalapeño peppers
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sweat the onion in a nonstick pan with a little bit of oil and some water. Add the garlic in the last minute or so. Then put everything into a big bowl and mix it together with your hands. Pat it into your cooking vessel and bake at 350°F/180°C until the meat is cooked through. Time will vary depending on size. My turley pie produced some liquid which I hoovered up with a turkey baster.
This pie was juicy and piquant and very easy to make. It might only have been improved with some fresh tomatillo relish or a cilantro raita on the side.
We had this for dinner with spinach salad and used our new elegant WMF drip free oil and vinegar dispensers. Beautiful and useful.