Friday, June 18, 2010

Fish and Chip Day

Day Two

Then: 15 stone 5 pounds (215 pounds)
Now: 15 stone 4 pounds (214 pounds)

Yea! A whole pound. And if I could just go to the loo, it would probably double my loss. But the omelette must have done its gelatinous stuff. Dukan says you should also have one and a half tablespoons of oatbran a day, presumably for unbunging purposes. I make a note to buy some on the way home from the office, and make do for breakfast with black coffee and yoghurt.

On the way in to work I pick up large quantity of fat-free yoghurts of every conceivable variety and another packet of roast chicken. I’ll be clucking soon.

Friday is fish-and-chip day in the office. The little cafĂ© in our building fries the freshest haddock, brought straight from the fish quay at North Shields, and it’s our weekly treat. Jo rings to say she’s in Chinatown with a friend. She’s enjoying pork dumplings. Paddy sneaks out of the office at 12.30, while I pretend to work through. I know where he’s going, but I’m not tempted. I tear open the pack of chicken, but this time only manage to eat half. Is my stomach shrinking already, or am I tiring of the wretched bird? Make note to buy smoked trout on the way home. Another vanilla yoghurt keeps me sane.

It’s World Cup night, and the less said about that the better. Jo has gone out with her girlfriends for a meal at our favourite Italian restaurant, Fratelli. They do the best seafood linguine, even better than my own (though I reckon I’m getting close). And it was there that we discovered Terra Rare, a great, warm red from Sardinia which has become our own house wine. I’ve ordered halibut and salmon from Ridley’s, a fabulous fresh fish supplier which delivers locally. But first, to the local pub for the match. I’ve been two days without alcohol. Can I survive?

England’s performance was dire – enough to drive anyone to drink. But in that beery atmosphere I meekly ordered a diet Coke – seriously, the drink with the most disgusting chemical aftertaste. Yet somehow, as England sank to a pathetic 0-0 draw, I found it strangely comforting. As pie-and-chips, fish-and-chips and hamburger-and-chips floated before my eyes, I looked forward to the end of the game and my own fish supper. Back home, I tried baking the halibut. I’d normally do it in foil with a little vermouth, a knob of butter, maybe a scratch or two of shallot with a little lemon juice (or, best of all, with a rich sage butter sauce). Dukan allows no alcohol or dairy, so I was left with the onion and the lemon. Then a brainwave, a poached egg on the top, with the yolk very soft so I could emulsify it into the lemon and fish juices. Barely palatable – desperately needed the butter. Vanilla yoghurt again. And lots of water.

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