Saturday, April 20, 2013

A hunk of halibut

Day 20 

Then: 220 pounds (15 stones 10 pounds) 
Now: 205 pounds (14 stones 9 pounds) 
Lost: 15 pounds (1 stone 1 pound) 

My fishmonger sold me a slice of halibut yesterday. 

No, not a slice, a slab. A hunk of halibut, enough for six people. 

There were three of us for lunch: Jo, me and Mum. Mum is a traditionalist: she likes halibut steaks cooked in sage butter with little new potatoes in butter and some nice green beans coated in butter. 

Mum doesn't understand why people go on diets. She thinks there's no point agonising over what we eat: we should eat what's good for us, and what's good for us is good, unprocessed, natural food, preferably cooked the way I generally do: in loads of butter. That philosophy doesn't exactly work for this diet. 

Of course there's no arguing with Mum; not just because she won't listen, but because you can't win. You can't win because the only argument to use against her is "it's better for you and you'll live longer".  And she has already disproved that theory.

Mum is 92. I don't know anyone who's lived longer than her;  I don't know anyone who looks as good as her over the age of 80 and yet by her own admission, she's been a pound or two over her "ideal" weight for the last 65 years. She lives on her own, is completely independent, fiercely opinionated, and only stopped driving when I put my foot down and threatened to tear up her licence. She is a phenomenon. And she likes the way I cook halibut with sage butter. 

Today, after helping me out in the garden, she stayed for lunch.  I thought she might have been less than impressed with our menu: halibut with a parsley and coriander paste crust, vegetable quinoa and baked kale with parmesan. Hippy food, I'd call it.  She was more polite;  she didn't comment or wince.  But then she tasted it. 

Halibut with chermoula crust

Jo had marinated the whole hunk in our new discovery: the chermoula paste Jo used in the vegetables yesterday, which is a Moroccan paste made from spicy coriander and parsley. Jo fried the fish skin side down for a few minutes, then turned it and seared the other side, then we turned it back, covered it with a chermoula crust, and popped it in a hot oven for a quarter of an hour. 

Vegetable quinoa

Before that, she'd baked some finely chopped kale (see April 7th 2013) but this time, instead of lemon, she sprinkled it with a little grated parmesan. She baked it in an oven at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes.  

Finally, she made an excellent and tasty quinoia, cooked in an organic garlic and herb vegetable stock, with some spring onions, coriander, parsley, sliced almonds and garlic. It was all delicious. 

It may not have been a traditional way of cooking this noble fish, but Mum pronounced the halibut quite the best she'd ever tasted.  

She was right: it was a triumph.  And Jo and I had both lost another pound this morning: that's 15 for me and 6 for Jo. Which, given that she is roughly half my weight, and in my view doesn't need to lose anything at all, is a real achievement for this diet.  

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