I finally got together with all my sisters and their families today for our Christmas celebration. Knowing I was out for the day and would be tempted multiple times, I had a substantial but very healthy breakfast.
A quick forage through the fridge provided pak choi, kale, spinach, 3 egg whites, a cup of cooked brown basmati rice and a Sea Bass fillet. I also added an onion. This quantity was for 2 of us. I stir fried it all together in coconut oil and served it with some Soy sauce. Very tasty.
We all contributed food for lunch and I was providing the starters. I was given a wonderful cookery book for Christmas by Ottolenghi and Tamimi – ‘Jerusalem‘. Thanks Anne!
I went for a mezze style starter and had a go at making hummus, following the recipe in Jerusalem.
- 250g dried chickpeas
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 270g light tahini
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 100ml ice cold water
- Wash the chickpeas and place in a large bowl
- Cover with twice the volume of cold water and leave to soak overnight
- The next day, drain the chickpeas, place in a saucepan with the bicarbonate of soda
- Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
- Add 1.5 litres fresh water and bring to the boil
- Cook for 20 – 40 minutes, skimming off scum from the surface as it forms
- The chickpeas are cooked when they can be crushed easily
- Drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor
- Process until you have a stiff paste
- Add the tahini, lemon juice and garlic and 1.5 tsp salt
- Slowly add the cold water
- Mix until creamy (about 5 minutes)
The hummus was delicious and is definitely worth making.
To go with the hummus we had cruditees (celery and cucumber) and also Koftas which are little meatballs. In ‘Jerusalem’ they serve these with a Tahini sauce but I served them with hummus.
- 400 g minced lamb (preferably shoulder)
- 400g minced beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix together well
- Shape in to long torpedo like fingers, roughly 8 cm long (60 g)
- Press the mix to compress it and help it maintain its shape during cooking
- Fry in oil in batches until golden brown on all sides (about 6 minutes)
I also stir fried chicken, peppers and cherry tomatoesand brought along some olives. I had a small plate (literally) and did not overload it, even though I easily could have done. It was all quite delicious.Holly made a lovely fish pie which was made with stock rather then the usual milk based sauce so it was lower fat but just as tasty. Served with green beans, peas and broccoli. I managed to resist Christmas pudding with brandy butter and a splendid cheese board and instead just had some pineapple and blueberries. Yes, you read that correctly, I, the cheese lover, sat round a table and even passed cheese round but did not eat any. I also resisted the wine, despite it being one of my favourites, Chateauneuf du Pap. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I felt very pleased about that. I did have 2 bowls of fruit so too much sugar but at least healthier than cheese and crackers and wine. The only other thing I ate was a bit more hummus with celery and cucumber. I didn’t eat all that hummus – Harvey loves it too. The women and children played games and chatted. I was again strong willed and resisted chocolates and Christmas cake. And Baileys.
I had a wonderful day with my family. I ate a lot of good quality and nutritious food and managed to have absolutely NOTHING I shouldn’t have. A very happy day indeed.