day one: 14stone (196lbs) and something’s gotta give… now that 2013 is fully in the swing and i’m back from my glorious trip to California it’s time to gather myself together and sort out the one thing that has been plaguing me for about a year now… my weight…
…writing a food blog is all very well and good but it means that a lot of food needs to be consumed so that I can write and share with you my dear friends and i’ve been doing this with gay abandon over the past couple of years… cakes and bakes… stews and roasts.. sweets and pastries… they all add up to a waste line that has become un-fathomly grotesque and if the lithe men of California have taught me anything it’s that this 42 year-old body can look bloody fabulous and I need to do something about it now before it all gets too late…
…now i’m no fool, I know it’s not going to be as easy as it was 10 years ago when I previously lost a lot of weight following the Atkin’s Diet and i’m not keen to follow that regime as closely as I did last time as I fear it wasn’t as healthy as I thought… plus I also don’t want to deprive you lot with endless salads and grilled chicken but I will be eating a lot less cake and a lot more wonderfully healthy and fresh food… i’ll also continue to take part in all my favourite blog challenges, just adapting them to suit my diet… and I have many beautiful blogs such as Lavender and Lovage and Tinned Tomatoes who have extremely creative and healthy recipes to turn to for inspiration… plus, if my trip to California taught me anything it’s that you can still be healthy whilst being wildly creative… i will also need your help as i’m going to be very open about the weight-loss… and inevitable weight gain… I have even taken a before picture of me in my pants but believe me, you really don’t want to see that… I may share it with you once the weight begins to drop significantly… but this may take a huge amount of alcohol to persuade me…
smoked haddock and sweetcorn chowder
and so to start and also prove that diets don’t have to be boring i’m making this rich, thick and creamy soup, inspired by my visit to San Francisco… to reduce the carbs i’m using cauliflower instead of potatoes to thicken but essentially the recipe is the same as a classic clam chowder although it has a little twist as I can’t get hold of any clams… i’ve also made a very simple veggie version by eliminating the fish but following exactly the same process in every other way…
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 medium cauliflower – finely chopped
2 small leeks – finely chopped
1 stick of celery – finely chopped
1 cup of frozen sweetcorn kernels
450g smoked haddock
1 pint of vegetable stock
1 pint of skimmed milk
salt and pepper
place the haddock in a large saucepan, cover with the milk and fresh thyme and let it gently simmer for 2 or three minutes. Let it cool then remove the fish, reserving the liquid.
using the same pan (sans fish and milk) add a nob of butter and a little olive oil and gently saute the onions and garlic until soft, then add the leeks, cauliflower and celery, place a lid on a sweat until all the veg are soft
add half the cup of sweetcorn, the milk from the fish and a little stock until the veg are covered and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes then blend with a hand-whizzer thingy until just blended
add the flaked fish, stir with a little more olive oil and let it cool slightly before serving.
eat and of course enjoy!
little macaroon. says
Good on you, and good luck with it. Having lost a stone and a half since October, I have two really important tools to recommend: fisrtly, the NHS BMI tracker app – I find this simple little chart immensely motivational. And secondly, a pedometer. 10,000 steps is quite surprisingly a lot (that makes no sense, but you get my drift) but if you hit the 10,000 a day (assuming that you didn't before – I certainly didn't) the weight will start to fall off.
But don't do Atkins again, you'll smell like farts.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
My mum used to make chowder when I was kid and I loved it. This version looks great and I like the cauliflower suggestion.
Re diets, I have reached the conclusion that at some point you have to make friends with exercise. Even if the scales tell the same story you definitely feel better for it. The healthy eating side seems to look after itself when you feel less sluggish.
Charlotte Soussan says
I'm on a no gluten, no dairy diet and in need of inspiration, so recipes welcome! (in the meantime, I'll try the chowder without the milk!
belleau kitchen says
Hey C, nice to hear from you… I am planning a whole series of Gluten Free and Lactose free recipes… watch this space!… and yes, try this without the milk and maybe up the cauliflower, or add a parsnip for more creaminess… plus you should buy a fabulous gluten-free stock powder by Marigold… very tasty!
belleau kitchen says
agreed re exercise… I guess I should have mentioned this in the post as I do go to the gym regularly, however no amount of gym will compensate for the amount of cake I eat!
london bakes says
Ah yes, I know the feeling all too well. I keep saying that the diet will start tomorrow but I fear tomorrow may be creeping ever closer…
nilanjana majumdar says
Looks soo fab i will have to try this out so many ideas spring to mind just from this one post, excellent.
Recipe Junkie says
What a great idea to add in cauli as a thickener. yes, I too am contemplating the scales. This chowder looks like a good place to start
Good for you Dom for setting this goal for yourself. This soup looks like an excellent beginning.
John Gray says
Californian chowders…there's nothing better
( with sour dough)
Charlotte Soussan says
thanks for the tip!! See you soon for a drink? Doesn't have to be alcoholic 😉 x
Sue/the view from great island says
This has to be one of my favorite meals ever, the smoked haddock flavors the milk so wonderfully, no need for fish stock! And your idea of using cauliflower in place of potatoes is brilliant!
I was on Atkins a few years back, too, and while it does work, you just know it's not good for you…I'm looking forward to all the wonderful cake-free dishes you've got planned (but please insert a cake or two along the way, just for old time's sake 🙂
Your chowder looks lovely. Perfect for the rainy cold weather we're having here in the deep south.
thanks for sharing,
~Caroline @ the wanna be country girl
From Beyond My Kitchen Window says
Good for you Dom. I have been trying since last June to eat a more healthy diet. I have only gone down one size, but it's better than going up a size. We have cauliflower instead of potatoes occasionally and really enjoy them. The smoked haddock chowder looks delicious and I like the fact that you used skim milk.
Janice Pattie says
Oh no, now I have the image of you in your pants in my head! Thanks for that Dom! I think most food bloggers have this problem. I lost 10lb in 3 months before Christmas by cutting my portion sizes, so first get a smaller plate and a smaller glass for the alcohol! Struggling to keep on the straight and narrow after Xmas though. Lovely soup, I do love smoked haddock. Good to have you back.
Mark Willis says
Good on you, Dom! I'm not a huge fan of sweet cakes and pastries myself, so I know there are loads of nice healthy foods that don't make you pile on the pounds. I remember once having a Chicken Caesar Salad in L.A. that was about as big as a football field, but it probably had less calories in it than one small Danish Pastry. I'm looking forward to seeing what recipes you come up with.
Magnolia Verandah says
Too hot for soup so bookmarked for July, as this looks lovely. Good for you to consider a healthy eating plan (I hate the word diet). The older we get the harder it gets. Portion control is being exercised in our house at the moment, small and often, the results are not immediate but it does work. Good luck will read with interest the recipes that follow.
I had never thought of using cauliflower as a thickener, what a good idea, definitely going to try this one!
I lost 3 stone last year doing WeighWatchers, so I know how hard the first few weeks can be. Weirdly using a smaller plate helps, definitely with portion control. I'm looking forward to seeing healthy recipes!
Andrea Mynard says
I love chowder, especially at this time of year – and this looks like a great version. Good luck with the diet. I'm a big fan of Trine Hahnemann's 'The Nordic Diet' at the moment and hoping that her lovely recipes which include lots of veg and fruit, fish, homemade bread and limited meat and dairy help me to shed a few pounds painlessly!
My Kitchen Stories. says
Isnt that the downfall for us foodbloggers?. It is something we dont always discuss and yet we are probably all struggling- cause lets face it we get home from work and cook a feast for all we know and we eat at the wrong time of day. Good luck with your new creative and thinner ideas.
You are correct that diets don't have to be boring and consist of only salads – and what's great, as a food blogger, you have that knowledge advantage over others. Yes, it will be hard, but you know you'll have all our support through thick and thin (no pun intended)!
The chowder is a good start… most people would not believe you'd be able to eat a creamy soup while dieting.
Good luck to you, Dom!! ((HUGS))
Susan Lindquist says
You can do it, Dom! If I can lose 25 lbs by just doing more vegetables, less meat and a moderate decrease in portion size, you can too! My downfall is the exercise bit … I really must increase that element of the lifestyle regimen in this new year!
Great soup, too, dearie! One more for my list!
Karen S Booth says
Thanks for the mention Dom and all I can say is that the 5:2 diet works for me as it is a sensible diet with no “forbidden” food, as some diets have. You only have to see some of the recipes I have created to know that 500 cals (600 cals for men) is not that bad a deal, really, for just 2 days a week!
I adore chowder by the way and anything with sweetcorn in, also gets my vote, so that is a proper lush recipe!
You CAN do it Dom, and I am here to support you any time you need help and encouragement!
Lovely to see you back, albeit JUST in your pants!
Katy Salter @ Pinch of Salt says
Oh I love me some chowder and what a great idea to keep the carbs down by using cauliflower to thicken. Looking fwd to more healthy recipes – and just look at all the people you've got cheering you on!
Susie @ Fold in the Flour says
Good on you Dom! I've been thinking I must really do something about my weight and eating habits for sometime, but have not got past the 'thinking' part, so I must really get on and do something. It is lovely to find recipe inspiration though, and as I do love a good chowder, this one has certainly inspired me! Good luck! 🙂 x
Anneli (Delicieux_fr) says
I think chowder may in fact be my favourite soup! I love that you have made this low fat and the addition of cauliflower is a great idea. I will definately give that one a go. Cheers!
Pistachio and Rose says
Oh yum, that looks divine…xxx
Phil in the Kitchen says
I used to make chowder a lot but I haven't eaten it for ages. This sounds great. Good luck with eating less cake. I should have the same intention but cake gets me through winter.
Laura Loves Cakes says
I love chowder…and if it's healthier too, so much the better! I have to agree that food blogging is not at all good for the waist line. I really need to be a little more healthy too…good luck with your endeavour! 🙂
Good for you! I often wonder how food bloggers do it! And I will be keen to see healthier recipes as although I will never give up cake, I am trying to eat a more moderate diet!
Nutritionist Manchester says
Good for you Dom! Good luck with the new plan!