Thursday, 8 May 2008

Secondary meals: What's left to eat?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         "Secondary meals" because I mean the lighter meal of the day, which I would prefer eat at a British tea time (not because I'm British, heaven forbid, but to avoid eating too much, too late in the day.) And this, following Diamond Geezer's plan, is where things get less simple.

Because of having fresh, wholemeal bread delivered daily, I would tend to grab something lazy quick and easy, like bread and jam, bread and honey, a cheese sarnie or something for my afternoon tea. Much the same as you might grab a sandwich of some sort for lunch. But, when trying to watch the cholesterol, the low fat spread (in place of margarine) is only allowed "Sometimes", which I reckon is less often than every day of the week, so that kills the idea of bread and jam (even if sugar free) or bread and honey on a regular basis.

Most cheeses are also off the menu, even though I did eat sandwiches without butter and plain bread seems a bit dry and boring, so this needs a whole new approach. Roast extra chicken for sandwiches, provided you can bear it without mayo. Tuna, likewise. Tinned sardines can be spread onto bread or toast like pate. Almost all choices can have salad in it or with it, to up the veg intake.

Home made tzatziki and hummusBread is still going to be the "filler" component of this meal and it dawned on me that Spanish has a phrase that covers just this situation and the lack of butter or margarine: "para mojar pan" (for moistening bread), which applies to sauces, dips, soups, etc. This approach seems a bit more interesting and Greek style dips; Tzatziki, Skordalia, Taramasalata and Hummus all look safe enough.

Once upon a time, I probably read a recipe for these, but now I just tend to throw them together. For the tzatziki, combine in a bowl; half a grated cucumber (squeezed to drain off the excess juice), a couple of tablespoons of fat-free yoghurt, a slurp of olive oil, a dash of lemon juice (or good vinegar), a few finely chopped mint leaves and a couple of minced cloves of garlic.

For the hummus (this is based on a Spanish recipe, which dispenses with the tahini paste); cooked chickpeas (garbanzos), a goodly slurp of olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic and a pinch of sea salt. As a general rule, I don't add salt to my cooking, but if you don't put salt in this, it tastes like soap! :) Throw the lot into a blender, food processor or use a hand blender to beat to a pulp. For best results, start with less oil than you think you'll need and add more gradually to get the right consistency, 'coz it's hard to remove excess!

And fat-free soup (doesn't that sound unexciting?) is allowed. I assume they mean clear soups. Surely, any vegetable puree type with no cream, nor other added fats will fit the bill? Hot soups in winter and, as we are allegedly moving towards summer, cold soups such as Gazpacho. Well, I hope that's right, 'coz that's what I made this week. Again.

Want more tempting soup ideas?

There's always Woman's Institute Soups for All Seasons.

Hey, don't knock it; these ladies really aught to know soups that are simple to make yet delicious, satisfying, uplifting, refreshing, warming.

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