Friday, 18 March 2011

'Legal' Cioppino and Dukan Week Four

One of the enjoyable things about starting any kind of eating routine, be it moving to a different country, health necessitated or being on a structured regime, such as this; is the challenge of adapting my 'Old Recipes' to my current way of eating. Well, I find it fun. Yes, I should probably get out more, but anyway...

The following is my adaptation of one of my favourite dishes, Cioppino, which can be loosely described as a San Francisco-style Bouillabaisse. I always use an adaptation of an old Gourmet magazine recipe, but that uses much too much olive oil, so, I used an adaptation of one I found on The Food Network by chef Giada De Laurentiis. Also, just so you know, the above picture isn't mine, but one that most closely resembles what my Cioppino looks like. By the time I realised, last night, I should take a photo... it was mostly polished off. You don't want to look at dirty dishes or the remaining Tablespoon of my Cioppino!.

In this recipe adaptation, I mainly just removed the oil, using instead vegetable stock for 'sautéeing' the vegetables and I replaced the clams, mussels and shellfish with frozen seafood cocktail mix. I did this because: it's what I had and because I need to cook something that won't break the bank. When I'm trying to impress, I go all out with a variety of fresh fish and fresh shellfish. However, please do  feel free to add in fresh shellfish, mussels and clams, especially if you'd like the 'Wow' factor of the shells. Me? I didn't want to fiddle with shells and peeling prawns heads and carapaces from their delectable bodies, and frankly, I never do want that messy fuss, even in a restaurant; I just want to eat!

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis and adapted for The Dukan Diet Cruise Phase Veg+Protein day by Kitty

Prep Time: 30 min  -  Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: 6 servings

* 250 ml / 8 ounces / 1 cup reduced fat vegetable stock
* 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 large shallots, chopped
* 2 teaspoons sea salt
* 4-8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (You decide on amount, we happen to love garlic!)
* 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
* 4 Tablespoons / 2 ounces / 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 850 g / 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
* 350 ml / 12 ounces dry white wine (optional)
* 1 1/4 litre / 40 ounces / 5 cups fish stock (I use Fumet de Poisson + hot water)
* 1 bay leaf
* 500 g / 1 pound bag frozen seafood cocktail mix (avoid the ones with Surimi, mine had prawns/shrimp, mussels and squid)
* 250g / 1/2 pound fresh or frozen prawns/shrimp or another bag of seafood cocktail mix
* 1 kg / 2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, (I used salmon and Panga) cut into small bite-sized pieces
* A handful of finely chopped or shredded fresh basil (optional)

Heat half the stock in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, garlic and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, continuing stirring and adding more stock as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking. Add 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine (if using,) fish stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavours blend, about 30 minutes. The fennel and garlic should be tender.

Add the frozen seafood cocktail mix (and prawns/shrimp, if using frozen) to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook, until the liquid begins to simmer. Then add the fish (and prawns/shrimp if fresh) to the pot, simmering gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, while stirring gently, about 5-7 minutes more. Any longer and the squid will go tough. Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle each bowl with some basil, if using, and serve. This goes wonderfully with crusty baguette!
(Note: To make this go further, add 500g / 1 pound of well-scrubbed small new potatoes when you add the bay leaf. Obviously this then changes the recipe away from the cruise phase!)

Now I'll discuss my week. It was pretty crap, again. I have been 'cheating' and it showed up on the scales. What have I been cheating with? Glasses of Merlot? Tablets of Chocolat Noir 70%? Or did I flip out and eat an entire Chaussée aux Moines? Nope, I've been having 50g of All-Bran Fibre Plus every morning with Non-Fat milk. Big whoopty-cheat. I stepped on the scales this morning and decided to can that breakfast cereal malarky right away. It's not been as 'efficacious' as hoped and it has completely put this week's results in the crapper. (Or not, if truth be told, *ahem*)

If anything, I probably gained 500g / 1 pound or so.
Ah well, just means I need to put out a bit more effort this week coming up.

I found this site on the internet called that is focussed on the Home Exercise movement. There are lots of short, intense videos that work all areas of your body, perfect for someone who wants to do a bit of exercise now and again through the day, and is stuck at home. I have to find something to do besides walking, I'm now barely managing 20 minutes at a time, and even if I go out twice a day, it's just not enough.

Obviously my former exercise routine of throwing my weight around, jumping to conclusions and pushing my luck is no longer applicable nor effective.

Have a great weekend and a fabulous week!


GaynorB said...

Well done for the weight you've lost, and for sticking with your regime. I keep putting off starting another one!
It is never easy to keep rigidly to a regime when there are so many temptations almost everywhere you look.
I like the look of your cioppino, so will try it out.

Deborah said...

Obviously my former exercise routine of throwing my weight around, jumping to conclusions and pushing my luck is no longer applicable nor effective. Brilliant! You should copyright that line, Kitty.

Sorry to hear that your're struggling, and appalled, frankly, to know that your breakfast (which is mine, too) is obviously not the done thing. Lots of water and exercise will do what All-Bran is supposed to, I find, on the occasions when I travel and can't get my hands on any.

Also sorry to have been absent here lately - it's been a busy time and I've been completely away from blogs.
Don't give up, Kitty. I went back to your first post on this topic and see that that needle has moved a considerable way downwards. Bravo!

Kitty said...

GaynorB: Thank you for commenting, yes, it IS hard with temptation lurking. But I have proved to myself that if I DO slide and have a mouthful of plain dark chocolate or even the sugar found in the innocuous All-Bran, it damages what I'm trying to achieve. My regime to based around the fact I *must* lose weight, period. I've had a few health scares of late, which I'll not discuss, but suffice to say if I don't get my BMI into a normal range, I'll not be the one raising my children anymore. That makes for incredible motivation!

Try the Cippino, it doesn't TASTE diet or good for you, but it is!

Kind regards, Kitty

Kitty said...

Deborah: If you see someone using that line, you can say you saw it here first! :D

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with All-Bran, it's just it doesn't mesh with this particular regime I am following. The tiny amount of sugar is enough to throw everything off-kilter, but it would not for a 'normal' person who was not necessarily trying to lose weight. I have switched to taking Psyllium Husk Powder instead of the All-Bran. My problem stems from the fact I am anaemic, always have been, and have to take prescription supplemental iron. Voilà. Water and exercise just don't cut it when iron tablets are involved.

However much the scales refuse to budge, I am not losing hope. Yesterday I put on a pair of 30+ year-old Levi's 501 jeans I have not been able to pull up past my knees since 2005. Not only did they go on, but buttoned and zipped as if they were a size too big. I was completely astonished and just about burst out crying with happiness.

Small steps. Small but significant, for me.

It's lovely to see you here! Bisouxxx, Kitty

Deborah said...

Ah, the Old Jeans trick. Congratulations! I keep a pair of jeans from about 15 years ago that are a better indication of my girth than the scales are. I'll never give them away - just keep making sure I can get into them every now and then.

The anaemia/taking iron thing is not compatible with the other thing, for sure. I heard that non-constipating iron pills are a possibility though. Maybe not in France?

Kitty said...

Deborah: When I get to the point where I can slip those jeans off without unbuttoning them, something I haven't been able to achieve since well before the birth of my son in '88, I'll know I've made it. Yes, you're right about slipping on a 'certain pair of jeans' from time to time. I'll make sure I do that from now on.

The supposed non-binding iron pills still do, at least to me. When I was in the UK, my doctor allowed me to get a liquid iron-rich water called Spatone, which was supplied in little packets, on prescription. Since it was from somewhere in Wales, it was readily available at Boots, I used it during and after both pregnancies and never had a problem with constipation. I've never seen it here in France. I might need to load up on some next time I go to the UK, hopefully before summer.

By the way, I'm still working on that project sprung from your discussion! Very therapeutic. All will be revealed soon.
Bisouxxx, Kitty

Lee said...

Well done with your progress so far. Defies logic that 50g of Allbran and some low fat milk will result in a 500g increase in a week though. Puzzling. Keep at it.

Kitty said...

Lee: Thank you!
From a scientific standpoint, it annoyed me because looking at simply a resting BMR, that should be enough to burn off the few extra calories. But then I began to really track exactly my food intake. I think the problem was using low-fat milk and All-Bran every morning, oh and maybe a Tablespoon or so of honey. And the Low-fat milk in the (several) coffees. And a couple tastes of what I made for the girls. And a bit of oil to sauté my onions and so on; I wasn't being careful enough with what was going 'in my gob'. Now I am.

And I'm seeing a result, even though I have gone back to the All-Bran and non-fat milk, this time it's fine as I'm tracking exactly what I'm consuming.

Mystery solved! :)

(And, honestly, as many will attest, using 'Logic' when referring to me is kinda laughable. I chuckled.)

Lee said...

Food diaries, or versions of them, make a big difference. I created my own spreadsheet with all the good and bad things I eat on it plus their calorific value. I aim to eat 80% of my expected calorie needs but knowingly blow out every Saturday for a special three course dinner (makes the rest of the week endurable). With this system I make no allowance for what I eat, just the total kJ for the day. My target is to lose (on average) 100g a day. Lost 4kg in 36 days, so tracking well.

Kitty said...

Lee: Good on you! As I keep seeing in the news, any weight we manage to shed that brings us closer to an appropriate BMI for our height, body frame, age and gender pushes us further away from dis-ease; diabetes, stroke, breathlessness, sleep apnoea, coronary from weight-related heart problems... and the list goes on and on.

Small steps, like yours, may seem insignificant to the observer, but, like the subtle shift of a rudder on open sea, it brings about change. The thing is to keep a firm hand on that rudder as you sail along. Which is what I am hoping to achieve as well. So far so good! :)

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