Okay, I’m well into week 3 and this is how it’s going.
The first thing most people tend to ask is have you lost any weight. I can answer that question with a simple yes. The answer becomes more extraordinary when I tell you that, we’ve not only been enjoying huge and satisfying meals but we’re also having desserts every night. By desserts, I don’t mean a bowl of chopped fruit. We’ve been having full-on crumbles or chocolate banana aquafaba cake topped with Alpro cream.
Right, down to the figures. In 2.5 weeks Nigel has lost a whopping 9lbs, I have lost 6lbs. We’re both thrilled to have lost a combined total of 15lbs so far.
We’re both sleeping better. Speaking for myself here, I have suffered heartburn for years and have crunched my way through mountains of antacids and swallowed loads of Zantacs. My overuse/occasional misuse of these products has been worrying me terribly. Not terribly enough to go to the doctor I must add. I have a severe phobia of choking and the thought of an endoscopy fills me with ‘death preference’ levels of dread. Since my lifestyle change, the symptoms have gone. It’s like a miracle has happened and I genuinely feel like a new person. This is not something I’m prepared to give up after a month as I don’t want to go back to my Rennie crunching, Pepto Bismol swigging old self again. I’m ready to adopt this lifestyle from now on. I can confirm that a plant based diet has fixed me. I have also noticed an increase in my energy levels and I’m more alert. On the downside, I have noticed that my hair seems really dry but my skin is better – go figure that one out. As a precaution, we are taking B vitamins, Iron and adding a little linseed powder to some foods.
What Have We Been Eating?
We tend to wander out for breakfast at the weekends. Wetherspoon’s do a lovely smashed avocado bagel and it is delicious. We take a little bottle of almond milk and enjoy the top up filter coffees. This cost us £3.05 each so not a bank breaker either. Don’t let anyone tell you that smashed avocados are an unaffordable middle-class dining experience. The English breakfast was dearer. If you’ve never tried them and are thinking yuck, give them a go. They are absolutely delicious – if you like avocados that is.
Over the past week, we have enjoyed butternut squash risotto and the aforementioned aquafaba chocolate banana cake. Here are the recipes below.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto. (For 2 people)
Butternut squash ingredients:
1 butternut squash peeled and cubed.
A glug of olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
1 cup of Arborio rice.
1 onion, finely chopped.
A handful of mushrooms and or garden peas. (I added them because I like them).
2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
1 large jug full of vegetable stock made to your taste including salt and pepper if needed.
Half a carton of Alpro soya cream.
2 table spoons of olive oil.
2 tablespoons of vegan margarine. (Pure/Vitalite).
Salt and pepper.
A small amount of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped.
A few shavings of Cheesley. (Vegan cheese – optional).
Cooking the squash.
Add the squash, the oil and the salt and pepper to a bowl and mix. When the squash is coated, pour the mix into an oven dish and roast on about 150 for approximately 25 minutes. Check after 10/15 minutes as you may need to give the squash a shake. This needs to be cooked at the same time as the risotto. When the squash is soft and lightly browned around the edges, it’s cooked perfectly.
While the squash is in the oven, you make the risotto.
Cooking the risotto.
Put your stock on the hob and keep it warm.
Grab a large frying pan. Add the oil, margarine and a sprinkling of salt.
Add the onions, (mushrooms) and garlic. Fry them for a minute.
Pour in the rice and lightly toast.
Pour 2 cups of the hot stock over the rice mix and allow to simmer away.
If using peas, I add them at this point.
When the liquid is fully absorbed keep adding a little more (about ¼ of a cup each time) every time it is absorbed.
There’s no getting away from the fact that you can’t leave a risotto unattended.
After about 5 minutes add a splash of the soya cream.
Stir the mix off the bottom of the pan regularly. After about 20-30 minutes your risotto should be done.
Taste as you go.
The rice should taste rich and creamy and the consistency shouldn’t be too runny. It should be able to hold its shape on a plate with just a nice bit of ooze.
Add more cream until it suits your palate.
Pour 2/3 of the roasted squash into the mix, along with a couple of pinches of the chopped parsley and stir.
Serve in a bowl and top with the rest of the roasted squash, seasoning, a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a few shavings of vegan cheese.
This is a rich, indulgent dish and should be savoured slowly. Enjoy – it’s one of my favourites. If you’re making it now and about to tuck in – I’m jealous.
Chocolate Banana Sticky Aquafaba Cake
6oz self raising flour.
About 3 eggs worth of drained bean juice (from chick peas, kidney beans etc. – I take an educated guess at 3 eggs worth).
6oz vegan margarine.
2 mashed bananas.
2 tablespoons malt.
Making the cake.
Preheat a fan oven to 160 or a few degrees more if you don’t have a fan oven.
Line a loaf tin with grease proof paper or grease well with margarine.
In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar.
Stir in, bit by bit, the bean juice.
Add the flour and cocoa in bits and stir the mix as you add.
Finally, add the mashed bananas and malt to the mix and pour into your loaf tin.
Place the cake in the oven and it should be ready in 30-40 minutes. Poke a cocktail stick or fork into the mix and when it comes out without too much mess, the cake is done.
Please note that this is a very moist cake. It is absolutely rich and delicious. It’s tasty when still hot with a bit of Alpro cream poured over it or it’s great cold also.