Friday, 12 June 2015

BBC Good Food 7-Day Summer Diet Plan - Day Two

Dee – We’re now on to the second day, with another busy day’s cooking.  Three new recipes, all meat-free this time, and quite different from yesterday’s.

Breakfast: Coconut, Quinoa and Chia Porridge
Firstly, apologies for the terrible picture quality.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no photographer.  I know it’s an important aspect of food blogging, and I’m working on it.  Anyway, on to the food:  I was a bit nervous about how this dish would turn out, having hardly had any experience of quinoa and none with chia seeds before.  The strong, earthy aroma from the soaked quinoa was unappealing, and the chia seeds, when mixed with water created a consistency similar to concrete.  However, I stuck with it and eventually, the resulting porridge wasn’t too bad.  The chia seeds had an interesting flavour, with a very subtle hint of chocolate, while the quinoa added a texture that was almost like a soft couscous.  Overall, it was subtler than porridge made with oats, but the coconut yoghurt, fruit and almonds that it was served with added more flavour and a slightly crunchy texture. 
There were no problems obtaining any of the ingredients, and quantity-wise it yields four generous servings. 
While it won’t replace oat porridge completely, especially on colder mornings, we have enough quinoa and chia seeds to make it again over the summer.

Lunch: Summer Pistou
There was quite a bit of preparation required for this dish, but the cooking was simple.  We used halved cherry tomatoes instead of chopped larger ones, and a stock cube instead of reduced-salt bouillon powder, but otherwise it was prepared in accordance with the recipe.  On the subject of seasoning, I was a little concerned that it would need more salt but it was fine with what I used.  The stock cube and parmesan provided enough seasoning.  I liked the light, fresh taste of the finished soup, but it also benefitted from the addition of the sauce.  Great for a summer lunch, but I need to check the taste after a day or two before I can decide if it’s suitable to make in the quantity directed by the recipe.  It specifies four servings, but I had a couple of ladles full and there is still lots left.

Tea: Spicy Vegetable Pilau with Cucumber Raita
The long ingredient list may appear daunting, but this recipe wasn’t too difficult to prepare.  We again had to use a couple of substitute ingredients:  Maftoul instead of Freekeh, and added dill to the yoghurt and mint as we’d used up all the cucumber in yesterday’s couscous salad.  Both of these substitutions turned out fine, though without the cucumber the Raita became a herby yoghurt sauce.
I was very impressed with the final dish, which was rich, fruity and spicy with a slight kick from the chilli.  The yoghurt sauce was a perfect accompaniment and the herbs added just the right amount of extra flavour.
This time, regrettably, the quantity was spot on and there were no leftovers to enjoy another day.  However, we have enough maftoul left and should be able to find the fresh ingredients easily enough to be able to make it again.

This has been an enjoyable second day on the diet, and we have both felt that we have had some great tasting food without feeling as though we are losing taste in favour of healthy eating.  That, to me, is one of the most important parts of a diet.

Let’s see what day three brings…

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