Wednesday 6 January 2010

Diet, What Diet?!

Okay, I know at this time of year I'm supposed to be living off rarified Alpine air and misted vitamins for four weeks but I'm afraid all it does is make me really grouchy, tired and unproductive - so I've decided not to go for an all-out diet this January.

Instead, with a little advice from the lovely Gina at Ethos Coaching who's married to the awesomely acerbic Eddie from Utobeer, I've set myself a goal instead - I want to lose a dress size by the end of February.

I've decided to do this through alternating daily light exercise with a day's murderous exercise, eating more sensibly during the day, cutting down on dinner portion sizes and being a little more abstemious in my drinking (not a lot mind you, but when you drink as much as I have in the last three months a little is actually a lot!!).

However, what I've decided NOT to do is to completely deny all eating pleasures and, as I've got a half-hundred weight of potatoes left from Christmas and I hate wasting food, we're having bangers & mash with Exmoor Beast Onion Gravy for dinner tonight.

I'm pretty sure that you don't need me to tell you how to make mash (although I do heartily recommend getting a potato ricer, it's the one of the few pieces of kit in my kitchen I now could not live without) and I'm not yet making my own sausages (although a bigger kitchen and that could become a reality very quickly!) so I'm just going to focus on the gravy!

Exmoor Beast Onion Gravy (will work with any brown/dark beer)
Three large onions
Two sizeable garlic cloves
GOOD stock (I'm using duck but that's just because it's in the freezer, would prefer beef)
One bottle of Exmoor Beast
Pinch of sugar
Three sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Chop your onions in half, peel, cut into 1cm thick half moons
  2. Place in a medium-hot deepish pan with some groundnut oil in it
  3. Keep stirring until the onions start to soften
  4. Add pinch of sugar and a splash of stock
  5. Cook the stock out
  6. Add garlic, thyme and half bottle of Beast and reduce to lowest heat
  7. Allow onions to caramelise (takes at least 30-45 minutes)
  8. Add rest of stock and cook until thickened (if you're struggling to get it thick then slake a little cornflour with a bit of the gravy in a glass/bowl/ramekin/whatever! and then add back into pan
  9. Taste, season accordingly (I like a lot of black pepper in mine) and pour over whatever you're serving it with!
If you add more stock and serve with slices of baguette with melted Gruyere on top you've got onion soup!


Kristy said...

that sounds delicious and perfect for today!

Ed said...

What's a potato ricer? Does it give you a finer mash?

Melissa Cole said...

@Kristy oooh, it was!

@Ed - yes it does give you finer, fluffier mash for a couple of reasons, one it means you have to work the potato less, meaning less chance of a gluey consistency and second there's no lumps and I've found you need less butter & milk/cream - link to the one I've got here!REG-potato-ricer/F/keyword/good+grips/product/13489/pgs/49