Thursday, 11 October 2012

Keeping well fed


Eggs taking centre stage.
Knowing what a good-hearted bunch you all are, it occurs to me that some of you may be worried that I’m currently eating poorly – or at least less enjoyably – than previously.

Well, you need have no fear on that score.

Eggs – good eggs – are a delight, and for breakfast, they have to be better than some ‘bread’ product and whatever filling is available, or even a bit of Chorleywood toast and some spread.

Likewise, lunch is often now centred on fish or cheese. And you know me – I love both.

Tinned sardines (olive oil only) are not to be sniffed at, while proper smoked mackerel is something I love. Now, it’s as though I actually have more opportunities to eat such things.

And oh, I have discovered that Ocado supply tins of duck confit from the south west of France: the only ingredients are duck, duck fat and salt – exactly as it should be.

We had some on Monday night, with a few baby new potatoes (a tin) drained and rinsed and dried, then finished in a little of the duck fat (the rest gets stored in a tub in the fridge).

The duck goes in the oven at 160˚C (fan) for around half an hour – for half of that, it was joined by a tin of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

If you think that beans and duck sounds a bit bonkers, then think of a cassoulet, where they come together with other ingredients to create a perfect dish.

But on Monday, we also had some red cabbage, done as per Joël Robuchon: slice thinly and blanch in boiling, salted water for two minutes. Drain and plunge under cold water. Then cook in more boiling, salted water for 15 minutes.

You can then drain and cool again, finishing in a sauté pan with butter when you’re almost ready to serve, but I served (with butter) straight after the second boil.

Robuchon says that the blanching improves digestibility. Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that this method produces a super result – cabbage that is tender but still retaining texture.

I had just a very few of the potatoes.

On Tuesday, it was lamb chops, grilled, and served with carrots and peas. For The Other Half, I did a few potatoes, but I decided to forgo them myself and see how I felt.

Now I love potatoes, but the result was undeniable. What I have, in the past, thought was ‘fullness’ could well have been bloatedness. Because on Tuesday night, without any starchy carbs in my main meal, I felt sated but utterly unbloated.

Now that I’ve recognised this, the difference is really quite dramatic.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I’m not going to eat potatoes or pasta or rice again, but it seems sensible to think of limiting them.

But two more things have struck me.

Shopping earlier on Tuesday, I was hanging around in a shop while they refilled by washing up liquid bottles, and I spotted some Suma organic tinned sweetcorn.

I was instantly tempted – I love sweetcorn – but suddenly I remembered something. Corn – that’s a bit like wheat, isn’t it? And I cannot digest sweetcorn. I know this because, to put it as politely as possible, it exits my body in pretty much the same condition as it enters it.

The second moment of revelation came yesterday at lunch time. The Other Half and I usually have a couple of lattes at a local café. I have no sugar or sweetener.

But for various reasons, this afternoon was the first milk I’ve had, at all, since last Thursday.

Now I’ve noted before that those two glasses of milky coffee would leave me feeling ‘full’, but today I realised that it’s the same bloatedness. Perhaps the very fact that it’s been almost a week since I last had milk accentuated the impact, but it was certainly there.

And when considered in light of that Mars attack, it makes more sense.

Am I becoming a faddy eater almost overnight?

I don’t think so.

I have heard – although I have nothing to back this up – that whole milk is the form of cow’s milk that human’s can most easily digest. In his most recent book, Dr John Briffa says that it’s more digestible if it’s raw (unpasturised) or if it’s sheep or goat milk.

It’s increasingly easy to believe this.

The evening’s dinner was just as easy: minced beef, onion, a tin of (organic) tomatoes; a dash of HP sauce, a dash of that Daylesford organic ketchup again; voila!

It’s becoming clear from conversations with a number of people that I’m far from the only person to have noticed such responses to certain foods.

It does, however, beg the question of just how many people experience similar things, but don’t realise that fullness and bloatedness are not one and the same thing and have simply become used to the latter.

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