Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bib bib bibimbappety bap

So I'm doing pretty well on my "diet" at the moment. The aim was to work to 1400 calories a day which I did really well at for 2 weeks, then I had one bad week where I just couldn't really be bothered and I was doing a bit of comfort eating after my bike crash* and I put a little bit of weight back on. Then I heard about the 5:2 fasting diet.

To say I was sceptical about 5:2 is a bit of an understatement - how can fasting for two days a week be good for you? Except it's not total fasting; you get to eat 500 calories if you're a girl, 600 if you are lucky enough to be a boy. So I decided to watch the Horizon documentary "Eat Fast and Live Longer" by Dr Michael Mosley (it's on YouTube) and see what it was all about. I came away feeling excited and totally convinced that (a) it is manageable and (b) that it's actually good for you. Seriously, the documentary is pretty compelling. Watch it.

Around the same time, the lovely @souchefnic launched her fabulous website: I can't stop drooling over it. For me, the thing that it's best at is providing hard-to-buy Asian ingredients which rock up a day or two later wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. Heaven.

I love Asian food more than any other cuisine. I love that it's spicy and salty and comforting and that it can be incredibly low in fat. It's the perfect cuisine when you're dieting. So, the first thing that I bought from was this beautiful dolsot stone bowl. It's pretty - it has naturally sparkly bits in the stone, see?

The purpose of this heavy beast? BIBIMBAP. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish and goes a little bit like this...


1 portion of cooked basmati rice (around 60g);
Spinach: a couple of decent handfuls cooked down, water squeezed out and then mixed with a little sesame oil and a few sesame seeds;
1 carrot: sliced into sticks, stir fried for a couple of minutes and then tossed in soy sauce;
1 courgette: cooked in the same way as the carrot;
1/3 of a cucumber, chopped into sticks, salted for about 20 minutes and rinsed and patted dry;
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts;
1 tbsp red pepper paste (available here from **);
1 whole egg;
Sesame oil.

While you are preparing the vegetables, put the cold stone bowl into a cold oven, turn it on to 200c and heat up. You can leave it in the oven for another 20 minutes or so to get really really hot. Never ever put the cold bowl into a hot oven, it will probably crack and then you will cry.

Once hot, remove the bowl from the oven (with oven gloves - stay safe kids) and throw in a teaspoon or two of sesame oil. Swill it around to coat the bowl and put in your cooked rice. The idea here is that the rice should get a crispy crust but it didn't really work for me. I asked Nic how to do it and she says that you should put it on a direct flame and let it sizzle away for 5 mins and that makes for a better crust.

Place all your veggies in pretty piles around the edge of the rice along with a good dollop of the pepper paste and then crack an egg into the middle.

When you get to the table (or to the sofa with your tray if you're me) grab your chopsticks and mix the whole lot together and eat!

It's so tasty. Spicy, crunchy, delicious. If I'm honest, the only thing that it was missing is a bit of meat. Sorry vegetarians. Next time I'll add a bit of beef or chicken to the mix. Incidentally, you can use ANY vegetables you like. You really should put a rehydrated shiitake mushroom in there too, but I didn't have any at the time. I do now. Once you've eaten it! Wash the bowl in hot water with no soap so that you're effectively "seasoning" the bowl more and more each time you use it.

This isn't a 5:2 fasting day meal but it's a damn fine pretty healthy meal for one of the feed days. I urge you to try it.

Next time: kimchi.

* remember how I said in my last blog post that I was going to buy a scooter and my life was going to improve enormously? Well I went on a training course, found it utterly terrifying and then crashed the bike into a bollard, flinging myself into the middle of the road rendering me battered, bruised and unable to walk for a couple of days. I've recovered now but I shan't be getting a bike. I've got an iPad instead. *safety first face*

** I promise you that Nic isn't paying me! I just bloody love her website.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Sorry to hear about your scooter crash but there are better ways of getting around London - scooters are for couriers and pizza delivery guys. Rest of us can cycle or get on the bus.

    But this was a really good post. Detailed, interesting and funny. Enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks Chris, that's really really kind. (I'm embracing trains and buses with a born-again style enthusiasm!)

  3. Woah! Rogue !!!!! When talking about washing the bowl. Blogger is being a knobber and I can't get rid of it. Let's just pretend I'm REALLY into washing up, yeah?

  4. I love bibimbap! My fave is the one topped with yook hwei (raw beef marinated in pear juice & sesame oil). The beef is then cooked (just a bit) in the stone bowl. Delish!

  5. Awesome bibimbap fran! I never have the patience to make it myself despite its deliciousness! Also if you fancy it, Koreans eat rice with a spoon! Good luck with fasting. I do 24 hour fasts 2 or 3 times a year. Hard but good for you!

  6. @Mr Noodles - I'm definitely going to add beef next time and was thinking about putting it in either raw or very rare. What is the pear juice? That sounds kinda weird but definitely interested!

    @Brie - thanks. I'm not keen on the idea of doing full fasts with no liquids but this seems achievable so I'm going to see how it goes over the next few weeks. Also, I like using chopsticks even if it's not technically right. For one thing, it slows down the rate of eating which can only be a good thing!

  7. Awesome dish and it sounds perfect for a bit of (totally un-authentic) sriracha hot sauce. I love that you have made a veggie version, it's something I am trying to do a lot more, for health reasons mostly.

    Hope you're all recovered from the scooter crash, that sounds like no fun at all. I reckon an iPad is a much better purchase.

  8. Clearly by living in the sticks one misses out on exotic foodstuffs :(

    I know that I cook lots, and do it for a living, but your food always sounds so much more interesting! Having access to ingredients/restaurants from around the world is one of the key things I miss about living in London.

    The Bibimbap sounds intriguing... how much does the bowl weigh?!

  9. @Grubworm - YUMZ at sriracha. Who gives a crap whether it's authentic or not if it tastes good? Go for it. (It would have tasted better with meat, I'm certain of it.)

    @Tamsin - I AM NOT ACCEPTING THIS. I reject your comment because I've totally just bigged up an AMAZING website where you can get a million and one things to make cooking more interesting! To be fair though, I don't have a Karen to accommodate so I can cook things that aren't chicken and mince (sorry Karen, love you really!) I buy everything over the internet because I can't be arsed to go to the shops - it's totally possible for you to get things delivered to Colchester.

    Oh, and I've just weighed the bowl. 1.6kg! It's a BEAST.

  10. Just wondering how the 5:2 is going now that you're 3 weeks in. My diet's stalled with 6.5lbs lost and I'm not really convinced it was long-term viable. Are you losing weight on this 5:2 approach?

  11. @Nicky - honestly? No I haven't. But I did one full week, then didn't do the following week because I had either work things or dinners out every day or night and then I did it again last week. I've stayed exactly the same weight for the last 3 weigh ins (I thought my scales were broken so I had to weigh myself again holding Ralphie to check) and I'm pretty pleased with that because I haven't really eaten "normally" on the 5 days. I've either been eating out or I've had people over for dinner so I have been eating a bit excessively and not particularly healthily on those days. I think that if I did the 2 fast days and aimed for about 1500 calories on the other days (and was out less!) that it would definitely work.

  12. Ok, thanks Fran. Maybe I should just go back to my "tried & trusted" :)