I am now officially the heaviest I have ever been. And it makes me look old, and feel old. So I’m officially doing something about it. I’m vain like that.
Although it isn’t just vanity, not really, not solely. I’ve also come hard up some rather nasty facts. No longer is it about the size of my bum or the size of my jeans, but now it’s also about some health issues that have raised their nasty little heads.
I want my vitality back, I want my waist back, I want the sparkle in my eye back and I want to give back the extra chin.
So I’m doing something about it.
I know enough about myself to know that not only is variety the spice of life, but that spice can keep the interest happening in the most boring of meals. Essentially I need to trick myself into thinking that I’m not being deprived- that the whole process is not one of hardship, but one of being kinder to myself.
The astrologer in me would say that the next couple of days have the potential to be dire indeed on diets. Dire Diet Days. The 3Ds. And the only way to combat a tendency to, well, eat the wrong things, is to pre-plan. So, I’m planning ahead. I’m using some of those cookbooks that I wrote about the other week.
Like this one from Les Huynh’s Blue Ginger… Steamed barramundi fillets with ginger and spring onion sauce.
Dishes like this tick all the boxes- the herbs and spice kick starts the palate, it looks pretty, the fish is simple and clean and the Asian flavoured broth tricks the tummy into feeling satisfied. It’s also quick to prepare and uses a decent number of pans- and that always makes you feel like you’re a real kitchen diva.
What you need
4 portions of white fish. You can use barramundi , snapper, cod, ling or any other firm white fillets. Keep the portion size to around 150g.
300g bok choy (pak choi), quartered lengthwise
handful of coriander leaves (to serve)
handful of finely julienned spring onion, green part only (to serve)
1 long red chilli de-seeded and julienned
For the sauce
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp light soy sauce (I use tamari to keep it all gluten free)
4 tbsp chicken stock or water
3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp julienned ginger (peeled first, of course)
a couple of long red chillis de-seeded and julienned
12x 6cm pieces of spring onion (the white part)
2 teasp sugar
¼ teasp sesame oil
What you do with it
Bring a wok or a large saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Pat the fish dry with paper towel & season lightly.
Line a steamer with banana leaves (if you want to be really authentic) or baking paper (if you can’t really be faffed) and pop the fish in. I have a large stainless steel steamer but you may need to do the fish in batches.
Sit the steamer over the water, but make sure the base doesn’t touch the water.
Depending on the thickness of the fish, it should take 7-9 mins, or when the fish flakes easily.
Meanwhile, attack the sauce.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and fry it briefly. It will smell amazing, but you don’t want it to brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Shock the bok choy in boiling water for 30 seconds. That’s all. Drain it well.
To serve place the bok choy into 4 flat soup plates. Top with the fish, pour the over the sauce and garnish.
I usually offer steamed rice for the non dietary challenged in the family…
I always add extra of the liquid component so the sauce becomes more of a broth. We also add a touch of sambal oelek for extra heat- but that’s optional.