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: www.souschef.co.uk 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 www.souschef.co.uk 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 www.souschef.co.uk **);
1 whole egg;
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.
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Location:Bib bib bibimbappety bap