Sunday, July 14, 2013

Indulging without bulging

I consider myself fortunate to be married to a man who loves to cook.  He also has a "thing" for tapas, and works in the city, which means that the Queen Victoria Market is within a quick lunchtime dash. Add all of these things up and what do you get?

...Tapas extravaganza!

Yep, this was last night's dinner - which went on and on and on... We started with chorizo in cider, which was amazing - that's it in the middle pic on the right. Then we moved onto pork rolls stuffed with jamon and manchego cheese (top right); even more amazing. Next was a tortilla patata (bottom right), served with garlic aioli. Again, amaaaazing.

After those little tidbits, we got into the serious stuff: clams in green sauce (bottom left). We had a similar dish at Movida Next Door a couple of years ago and Bike Boy hasn't stopped raving about it. Lucky for him, I found Frank Camorra's fabulous Movida recipe book for a bargain price at This was awesome sauce. I mean the sauce was awesome - so much garlic!

The final course was a Spanish rib-eye, served with roasted cumin-lime baby carrots (top left) and Brussells sprouts. Sensational!

The best way to eat these babies - gently cooked in a little olive oil with jamon and onion. Yum!
I did help a little. I made the veggies.... lit the candles....

...and, as usual, was responsible for dessert. I found this flourless chocolate-orange cake recipe and decided to give it a whirl. It was almost a disaster, because: a) the recipe isn't quite right; and b) I was rushing and didn't check the oven settings. Oops.

Luckily, it turned out OK. A little burnt on the bottom, and it did stick to my silicon pan on one side and come out a bit imperfect-looking, but nothing that couldn't be hidden with a good dollop of Greek yoghurt, some chopped pistachios and the right camera angle. Delicious!

I'm going to make my own version of this and will share the recipe once I've tweaked it suitably. 
You might be wondering how eating like this reconciles with healthy living, weight maintenance and all that kind of thing. Here's my general life philosophy, as stated in a comment I left over at Sara's blog the other day:

If losing or maintaining weight required eating lettuce and poached fish, I'd be the fattest person on planet earth, because I adore good food. There has to be room for chocolate, ice cream and wine - just not in enormous quantities.

Eat things you like (in the right amounts) and move your butt quite a bit. Stress less and do the things that you enjoy, travel the world, hug your loved ones, read good books, take pleasure in small things.... and never, ever act your age.

So... Saturday's dinner... Yes, it contained numerous courses, but I ate only small portions of each. Bike Boy did his usual thing and slightly extravagantly over-catered. But that doesn't mean we have to EAT ALL OF THE FOOD, just because it's there. A spoonful of chorizo, one pork roll (OK, two...), one slice of tortilla, a few clams and a little steak with generous amounts of the veggies was more than enough for me. Our fridge is well-stocked with leftovers.

There was actually meant to be one more course, something fabulous with fresh whiting - but halfway through, we looked at each other, looked at the food left from each course so far, and said "Maybe we'll save that for lunch tomorrow...." It's good to know your limits.

I knew that dinner was going to be indulgent - and that dessert was on the menu too, so I ate lightly during the day. Lunch was this colourful salad with a small can of salmon chucked on top:

Food photography is so much easier with the help of daylight....

Another important part of my approach to healthy eating is to never demonise food. There is no "good" or "bad" food, there's just food... Yes, there are foods that we should eat more of than others, but there is nothing that I can't eat. Creating a list of banned foods, (or "cheat" foods - I hate that term, ugh!) is a sure way to send me off into a destructive spiral of craving, binging, compensatory deprivation, self-loathing and serious mental problems.

Instead, I eat what I like - and how could you not find my "whatever's in the fridge" salad appealing? All those colours and textures and flavours, mmm! I'm able to limit my consumption of indulgence foods; most of the time anyway. I've been paying close attention to how food affects me and have learned that too much chocolate or cake or wine isn't a great idea - not just because it will make my butt expand, but because my body objects quite loudly to an excess of sugar, starch or alcohol. Waking up with a headache, dragging myself through the day feeling lethargic and grumpy, or dealing with an episode of severe gut dysfunction are not things I choose to experience on a regular basis.

Thus, the leftover cake is about to be sliced, packed into a container and frozen. Bike Boy will turn some of the tortilla and chorizo into breakfast today (he's currently pedalling his way through a workout in the garage) and will probably eat some of the remaining savoury goodies for his dinner tonight while I'm out enjoying Pink's umpteenth Melbourne concert.

I had planned to mark Bastille Day today with some French cuisine, and had a vague idea about popping out to buy fresh croissants for breakfast. But I woke up this morning feeling not very hungry - and after last night's magnificent feast, I don't really want pastry; it just doesn't appeal right now. That's OK; I can have croissants any time I like. Maybe next weekend. Or not. Right now, I think I feel like some fruit and yoghurt...



Pip said...

Love your philosophy here Kek about healthy living, (all so true I think), your food looks and sounds fab!

Someone in particular who for some (weird) reason (lol) is keen on me wants to cook me a birthday tea next weekend and he knows local fisherman. He's asked what I would like.....I've said some steamed crayfish with fresh lemon served with a big colourful garden salad and cracked pepper lol! A raw oyster or 2 as well for an entree, and a glass of nice sparkling vino! Lets see!

Sara said...

'This was awesome sauce' :D

Looks amazing. I shall show the post to the man of the house and demand some immediate action on the cooking front.

Kek said...

Pip, stop putting yourself down right now, or I shall come over there and slap you! Obviously, your man is keen on you because you're kind and loving...and other stuff. Enjoy your seafood birthday feast! :)

Haha, Sara - good luck with that. ;)

Debbish said...

I saw this when you posted the pics on Facebook (I think it was) and it actually made me feel really sad and kinda confronted - that whole not having a husband / partner thing... which is weird as mostly I'm used to it. I think cos it was such a 'normal' thing in your household and I suffered from that "I wish I wasn't alone" envy.

Though I know most people envy that I do live by myself!

Kek said...

Aww, Deb... :(

I really do appreciate having family around me (most of the time). Of course there are moments when I wish they'd all bugger off somewhere and give me some alone time - and I am perfectly capable of amusing myself when I'm alone. But I think we all have a common need for the company of other humans, for someone to belong to.

I don't have any fabulous words of wisdom for you; I wish I did.

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