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Innocents Abroad

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  1. You can just buy regular balsamic vinegar and reduce it down by simmering it in a small pan until it becomes the syrupy consistency you're looking for.  You get a really good concentrated taste too.  L  
  2. I have a couple of 'old favourites' for cooking pork in a pan on top of the stove.  I use pork tenderloin cut into strips and both recipes pretty much start off the same.  Cook sliced onions and garlic in a little butter and oil till soft then remove from pan.  Turn up heat and when v hot add pork and cook quickly for a few mins.  Turn heat back down and add the onions & garlic.  Then add a little liquid - stock, white wine, Noilly Prat, whatever you fancy.  Cook on v low simmer for about 15 mins.  Then comes the choices.  1. Turn up the heat and either add some warm brandy and flambe till the flames have gone and then add creme fraiche, stir tillthickened slighty, check seasoning and serve. 2. Mix english mustard, Dijon mustard and grain mustard - in proportions of your choice - into creme fraiche.  Add to pork mixture and cook till thickened slightly.  Check seaoning and serve.  (This is a Delia recipe and can probably be found on her website). Don't know if this is what you had in mind? Lynda
  3. Mains (quite easy but slightly faffy, though well worth the effort)   Monkfish with Saffron & Pernod Sauce (my version)    100g chopped shallots Large tomato – peeled, deseeded and chopped 2t oil 1t fish sauce (Nam Pla) 10mls Pernod 350g (ish) monkfish – skinned & cut into thick discs 1t oil 10g butter 100g crème fraîche Good pinch saffron – soaking in very small dish of boiling water    1.            Gently fry shallots in 2t oil until translucent and then add chopped tomato 2.            Add small amount of water, if necessary, to stop mixture from getting too dry 3.            Add fish sauce 4.            Add saffron water 5.            Add Pernod 6.            Cook for few minutes more to ‘cook out’ the alcohol then turn off the heat. 7.            Blitz the mixture, adding a little more water if necessary, to a thickish sauce 8.            Return the sauce to the original frying pan. 9.            In different pan quickly fry the monkfish in hot pan containing 1t oil and butter – until just cooked (3 – 4 mins) 10.       Water will run from the fish which can be used to deglaze the pan 11.       Towards the end of cooking the fish put the sauce back on low heat 12.       Remove fish and keep warm (this will help drain away any further water) 13.       Add crème fraîche to sauce and stir and then transfer the sauce to the fish frying pan, which should still be on a low heat.  Combine well. 14.       Add the fish, discarding any further water, which may have drained off, and quickly combine with the sauce. 15.       Serve straight away  (We usually have it with steamed basmati rice)   Enjoy!  
  4. Just wanted to add our thanks too - to Deb, to Claire, to the rest of the Health Issues team, to the British Embassy and to EVERYONE who lobbied, sent emails, wrote letters, allowed themselves to be interviewed and generally helped to make our voices heard. [kiss] [kiss] Deb - when you and the rest of the team finally do 'get together' please let us know when and where.  In addition to us, we think there may be one or two other people who'd like to buy you all a drink! [kiss] Pete & Lynda xx
  5. Hi Everyone!   Tried to post yesterday evening but think the forum was having a spot of bother so please read as if yesterday!!   Well, what can I say?  I think you are all absolute STARS – for doing so well and also for still being here after a whole year – through thick and thin !! [:D]   Have been in festive ‘demob happy’ mode this week and counting calories has definitely not been on my list of things to do.  Off to UK tomorrow – with two dogs and a car full of goodies (“hampers” are the Christmas pressie theme this year) so getting very giddy – if not a tad stressed too.  Not looking forward to the drive but I’m sure that before we know it we’ll be having breakfast with our friends in York on Thursday morning.   Without becoming too emotional – though am holding a large pineau in my hand [:-))] so can’t be held accountable – I just wanted to say how brilliant it has been to share with you our quest for the body beautiful this year.  I know I strayed a little during the summer but it was reading your posts each week that finally got me back on track.  I’m thrilled to say that I have lost 22lbs this year – and some of it twice!! – and I just can’t tell you how wonderful that makes me feel.  I’m not at my personal target yet – and will definitely been even further away from it come the 1st January – so will definitely be here next year.  I’d like to stay with Tuesdays as it’s become a bit of a habit with me now, though I appreciate that there may not be very many of us here on the 1st!  Still, gives us a whole week to recover!!   Have a truly wonderful Christmas and all good wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2008 [:D]   Festive hugs and kisses   Lynda xx   ps sorry about the weird spacing - got so fed up of losing my text that I typed it in Word and then cut and pasted ...
  6. Well done Joy!  Half a stone off is a good achievement and there will be some people reading this who have put ON half a stone - or even more - since January so you should feel very pleased with yourself!  [:D] Another lb gone for me this week so I too am feeling very pleased with myself.  Off to the UK next Wednesday so will be here next Tuesday for final weigh-in of the year.  I'm definitely up for continuing next year - especially between New Year and mid February (did I mention daughter's wedding [:P]) and it will be good to carry on through the year as it keeps me focussed.  Who knows, perhaps some of those who fell by the wayside this year might join us again in January? [:P] Till next week ... Lynda xx  
  7. Hi Everyone Can't believe another week has gone by!  Another lb off for me - hurrah !! [:D]  Acutally it should have been two - and WAS two on Friday then had a bit of a blow out on Saturday (2 year anniversary of us moving into our house) so went out and had lovely lunch and two bottles of wine!! [:$]  Now only showing one lb down - and it was one lb UP on Sunday! Getting very excited about going back to UK for Christmas - seeing kids, shopping for wedding outfit, etc etc.  We're driving there and back (South Charente to York !!!) as we're taking the two dogs with us.  We do it all in one go, two hour driving stints whilst the other one sleeps, though we do have lots of pit stops for the dogs - and us! Anyway, keep up the good work everyone - whichever scales you use [:D] - and remember how FAB you're going to feel when Father Christmas slips his arm around your waist and tells you how hot your looking - and I don't mean as a result of a 'tropical moment' !!!! Till next week ... Lynda xx  
  8. Well done Other Jan - if I were you I'd carry on with the alcohol, it obviously works!! Joy, don't be despondent! As I keep saying, just stick with it and you WILL lose weight - though no bread, no wine and no chocolate sounds like a dissaster waiting to happen!  Why are you doing this to yourself?  Not only are you miserable because the weight isn't coming off fast enough but you're making yourself MORE miserable by banning the things you love.  Stop it at once!! [:D] Healthy eating and losing weight is not about cutting out things that you like, but having them in moderation.  I happen to like wine [:)] - rather a lot - so I use my calorie allowance and have a glass or three of wine - EVERY day!! (think we need to have a little smiley face with a big red nose and rosey cheeks and the work 'hic' coming out of his mouth, please). And to prove that it works, I've lost another lb this week.  It's not the 1.75lbs that I needed to keep to my target weight loss but hey, it's a weight loss and I'm delighted! Anyway, my glass of vin rouge awaits so must dash! Lynda xx  
  9. And the next one ..... Is the Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng) recipe from the Marks and Spencer's 'Count on Us' cookbook. I was going to type it all out but found it on t'internet, so here's the link http://www.mealsmatter.org/recipes-meals/recipe/13090 It gives you the nutritional info too. Just one little thing; I add a handful of frozen peas during the cooking process - really makes a difference! L x  
  10. Righto, here's the first one: Monkfish with Saffron & Pernod Sauce (my version)    100g chopped shallots Large tomato – peeled, deseeded and chopped 2tspns oil 1tspn fish sauce (Nam Pla) 10mls Pernod 350g monkfish – skinned & cut into thick discs 1tspn oil 10g butter 100g crème fraîche (15%) Good pinch saffron – soaked in very small dish of hot water    1.            Gently fry shallots in oil until translucent and then add chopped tomato 2.            Add small amount of water to stop mixture from getting too dry, if necessary 3.            Add fish sauce 4.            Add saffron water (including saffron strands) 5.            Add Pernod 6.            Cook for few minutes more to ‘cook out’ the alcohol then turn off the heat. 7.            Blitz the mixture, adding a little more water if necessary, to a thickish sauce 8.            Return the sauce to the original frying pan. 9.            In different pan quickly fry the monkfish in hot pan, containing 1tspn oil and the butter, until just cooked (3 – 4 mins) 10.       Water will run from the fish which can be used to deglaze the pan 11.       Towards the end of cooking the fish put the sauce back on low heat 12.       Remove fish and keep warm (this will help drain away any further water) 13.       Add crème fraîche to sauce and stir and then transfer the sauce to the fish frying pan, which should still be on a low heat.  Combine well. 14.       Add the fish, discarding any further water which may have drained off, and quickly combine with the sauce. 15.       Serve straight away            This amount, if followed precisely, comes to 607 calories for the total amount and is enough to serve me and my hungry (6'4") husband.  Half the amount, served with 100g cooked basmati rice will 'cost' you 450 cals   Enjoy!
  11. Hi Joy, I'm sure it's fluid retention and you'll find that if you just stick to it - and well done for keeping a food diary[:D]! - then it will level itself out and you'll start to maintain a steady weight loss.  The thing is not to get dispondent (not easy, I know) and providing you're sticking to your allotted allowance then you WILL lose weight. I know I keep saying it but it is absolute FACT; if you eat less than your body needs to maintain it then you will lose weight.  Do a bit of excercise as well and you're quids in!  I think the problem for a lot of people - and me included sometimes - is the desire to see immediate results and if that doesn't happen then it's very easy to say, "oh sod it" and then go and have a chip buttie washed down with a bottle of vin rouge [6].  Hang on in there girl and it WILL happen! Anyway, off to get the recipes, as promised. Lynda xx  
  12. Hi Everyone, I'm back  .... again !!  I've had so many restarts recently I'm beginning to feel like our old laptop!!  However, the good news is that since I was here last I've lost 5lbs!!! [:D] [:D] [:D] [:D] [:D] We're now completely cleared of visitors and on the countdown to our UK Christmas visit (OH fitting for Father of the Bride suit and me retail therapy for wedding outfit) so completely and utterly focused  !!! I do apologise for not posting recipe and photos.  Recipe will follow but have decided to wait till Christmas to post before and afters ... though might do it sooner.  Have also got a lovely version of monkfish in saffron and pernod sauce - made with 15% creme fraiche so VERY affordable calorie-wise and perfect with 100gms of steamed basmati rice.  Will post that too. Well done to everyone who's losing, I've got my being good head back on now so will definitely be here next week.  Am aiming to lose another 7lbs by the time we leave for the UK on 19th December, which is four weeks tomorrow [:-))], so that's 1.75lbs to lose each week, which is what my average was when I was doing really well at the beginning of the year.  Fingers crossed! By the way, 150mls of wine is 85 cals (according to my book - and who am I to argue!) so you can spalsh out and have 200mls for just 113 cals! Jan, I'm SO sorry to hear about your cat, I hope he's returned by now?  I do know what it's like to lose a pet so I really do feel for you. Till recipes - later Lynda xx  
  13. Hi Karen Thanks so much for your swift response!  We're looking to fly out on Thursday 14th Feb and will fly back again on Monday 18th, though we've not booked the flights yet.  If this is good for you, and you're interested in doing it [:D], then PM me with your phone number and I'll give you a call so we can discuss further and then perhaps arrange for you to come over and meet the gang - and also see where you might be living for a few days - fingers crossed! Best regards, Lynda & Pete
  14. Wonder if anyone can help?  Next February we need to go to the UK for a wedding - our daughters!  Obviously all the family, who would normally do the house/pet sitting, will be at the wedding and I'm drawing a blank with our friends too. We have two dogs; Ben, a cross lab/spaniel and Jezzie, a manic Border Collie who will catch and retrieve frizbies till the cows come home!  We also have Holly, an 18 year old cat, who has definitely got a 'portrait in the attic' since we discovered some food for "senior cats who are young at heart".  Kennels are not an option as Ben has had one hell of time during the last sixteen months, plus they've never been in kennels before either and we just can't do it to them.  Ben's story is that in August 2006 the ligaments in his back left knee went so he underwent major surgery to have new ligaments made, using muscle from his thigh.  (Sorry if this goes on a bit, I'm just setting the scene!).  He recovered well and the left leg is now good as new.  Unfortunately, in February this year, exactly the same thing happened to his other back leg.  He had the same op (cut from top hip to below knee, plus a number of weeks in very tight padding) but this didn't take so he had to go through the whole thing again but using artifucial cord this time to create new ligaments.  The latest from the vet is that it's unlikely that this has taken too so it looks like he's going to be on three legs for the rest of his natural.  Now don't get me wrong, he's a happy dog, knows he's loved and can get by very nicely hopping around on his three legs (his bad one is tucked up off the floor).  The problem is that he can't be left outside because he mustn't put too much stress on his one good - but slightly flawed - back leg.  We leave them inside when we go our but our time limit is a maximum of four hours. We're only going to be away for five days or so but we do need someone to actually live in the house (4 bed, 2 bathrooms, 3 acres of garden/land and all the walnuts you can eat!) so would need to probably have a 'hand-over' period too.  We live in a small hamlet between Chalais and Aubeterre, Department 16.  Would have no problems either if house sitter wanted to stay on for a while afterwards.  Perhaps you know someone who might be house-hunting in February and looking for a base?  I know this is a bit risky, which is why I'm only asking on this forum, but we really need to sort something out soon, just so that everyone knows where they stand. Sorry for droning on and thanks if you've stuck with this.  Hope someone can help .... Lynda & Pete    
  15. Hi Everyone - and well done all you loosers! Just one lb off this week, which is a bit disappointing but only been cal counting for half the week as we have guests here till Thursday and we've done nothing but eat and drink - lunch out yesterday, dinner out last night and lunch out again today (6 courses and all the red wine you can drink - for 12 euros!!!! [6] ).  Sorry, this really isn't very motivational is it??!! Also must apologise for no photo's as haven't had time, and I promise that I WILL post the fried rice recipe after Thursday when our friends have gone. Jan, was it you who mentioned Atkins?  In my humble opinion, and I have tried it - and most other diet regimes that are around - and the only thing going for it is the novelty of being able to eat butter and cream and everything else that's not good for your arteries, whilst not being able to eat things that are healthy, such as fruit and vegetables (yes, I know I'm being extreme but it's just to make a point).  There was a programme on TV once all about it and their clinical testings showed that people on Atkins were loosing weight because they were actually eating fewer calories.  I know it sounds odd but when you've got nothing to put your butter on or pour your cream over then the novelty very soon wears off!  And anyway, do you really want to go round with halitosis [+o(] ?? Someone else asked about calorie counting and where do we get our info from.  I've got a Slimming Magazine booklet called Greatest Guide to Calories which I've had, in various editions, since time began.  My current one is 2003 I think but still works very well.  I think Slimming Magazine have stopped doing them now but if you look on eBay or Amazon then you should be able to get something.  Someone was selling one on eBay last week but wanted £4 for postage to France!!  There are loads of websites too but I find them a bit laborious and they're nearly all American so don't have the same food listings, but they may help you in the meanwhile.  If you get stuck for the cal count of something then give me a shout and I'll have a look in my little book. Anyway, sounds like the visitors are stiring so better go and see what they want for breakfast.  I'll just sit and watch them eat - naturally! Will be back before the weekend with that recipe! Hang on in there all - and just keep thinking about that little black Christmas dress! Lynda x  
  16. Morning Geordie Girl - I guess you were posting as I was typing!  Firstly, don't ever be ashamed about ANYTHING!  Secondly, ignore how much in total you have to lose and concentrate only on losing just one kilo!  Just think how brilliant you'll feel when you're one kilo lighter - your clothes will feel looser, your health will improve and you'll get such a buzz from having achieved a goal of one kilo that you'll want to carry on! So, that's all you have to loose - just one, very achieveable, kilo - and, I promise you, you can do it!! Go (Geordie) girl !![:D] L x  
  17. [url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/weight-loss/w2ailCV/] [img]http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/w2ailCV/weight.png[/img] [/url] Morning Everyone - and what a FABULOUS morning it is!  Waiting for OH to finish his sesh on the cross-trainer so thought I'd come and have a chat.  Have just a had a walk in the garden with the dogs and feel all full of whimsy and plumtiousness (though not plumtious in a rounded sort of way!) - isn't it amazing how great the sunshine makes you feel. Thank you for your warm welcome back [kiss].  I have been sort of keeping track and did feel quite guilty to just disappear like that but anyway, I promise I'm back to stay! As you can see, I have 12lbs to loose which will get me down to the aforementioned WW Gold weight of 10st 10lbs.  Just before we went over to the UK in July I got down to 11st so the mathemeticians amongst you will deduce that I have gained 8lbs over the summer.  Considering all the visitors we've had and all the food and booze that I've consumed then I'm amazed that it's not a lot more [6] so, adopting the 'glass is half full' sort of approach, let's be grateful for small (8lb) mercies and get on with getting rid of it!! Welcome Geordie Girl - and throwing out challenges on your first post on this thread!  I like it!  So, you want photo's eh?  If you recall, I did actually say that I would post befores and afters when I got to my target - but, if that's what you want, what you really really want [:-))], then perhaps I should comply - a sort of before, during, and then after.  I do have a bit of a challenge with this however (oh, here come the excuses, I hear you say) in that we had a a bit of a disaster recently and lost the hard drive of our computer - with all our photos on [:'(].  Everyone has been brilliant and we've had family and friends send disks of photos for us but we've not got round to sorting them yet.  So, yes, I will post some photos but for next week's 'weight-in' - deal? So, m'dears, how are we all going to make sure that we've lost even a teeny weeny bit of weight by next week?  As I've already (bored you to death with) said, I'm back to keeping my food diary and counting the cals - 1250 max per day.  I've got a brilliant recipe for chicken fried rice - yes, FRIED [:-))] - and it's less than 400 cals for a great big plateful.  No time at moment to type it but will do before next week. Anyway, Pete's finished his sesh now so off to do mine.  Have a great week all! L x    
  18. Righto my lovelies - I'M BACK !!! I'm sorry that I deserted you but I got a bit fed up being stuck on that plateau and not getting to my target - with only a few pounds to go!  However, I've had a BRILLIANT summer and am SO glad that I lost the 20 odd pounds in time for shorts, strappy tops and cossies!  I've eaten very well and not skimped on the old deamon drink - but I've religiously done 30 minutes on the cross-trainer every other day.  However, I have put a few pounds back on and now that we have no more visiting family and friends scheduled this year (apart from a few days next week) I am embarking on 'Operation Wedding Outfit' - in preparation for my step-daughter's wedding in February!  Would anyone care to join me on my journey - no, not to the wedding, but loosing a few pounds in time for Christmas/New Year festivities?? As always, my approach is military operation style and this very morning I went through my eating diary - which I kept from 2nd January until mid July - and made a list of all the different (calorie counted) meals that we had so that when doing my planning I can just look at the list and see what takes our fancy.  Easy peasy!  I know this isn't practical for some of you - and probably sounds postively disturbing to others - but it's what works for me. And if you want a bit of encouragement, just look at the beginning of this thread - do you really want to start 2008 exactly as you started 2007?  Just think, in January you COULD be doing something different other than that making the same old New Year resolution about loosing weight!  Will drop in on Tuesday but not for a weigh-in - hopefully someone will be there?? Lynda x  
  19. Hi Joy & Maggie, lovely to hear from you! Joy, my advice is to go off the UK and have a jolly good time and just eat and drink what you want.  Maggie my love, I'm tempted to say the same thing to you too - except for the going off to the UK part [:)]  If you really do feel that way, and you're not so overweight that it is threatening your health, then just accept who you are and get on with enjoying your life.  I really do think the weather is playing a big part in making us all feel miserable, so rather than feel even more miserable about the weight thing, just forget it for now and wait for that time when you really feel postive about wanting to lose some weight. I think I said in an earlier post, if I could bottle that feeling of having a real positive attitude then I would be a very wealthy lady and oh how I wish I'd had some of that positive attitude in these last few weeks.  But LIFE IS TOO SHORT to worry about stuff like this.  If it is really making you miserable then stop it at once and go and have a chip sandwich - with butter and brown sauce!  - and then will you tell us all about it in as much detail as you can possibly muster [:D] [;-)] Whatever you chose to do Maggi, keep smiling, keep posting and we'll always be here for you! Lynda x  
  20. I'm back - did you miss me?? [:D] [:D] Though looking at last week's attendance it seems to me that a little shaking up is needed!! [;-)] C'mon everyone - where are you all?  Yes, I know I did a bit of a runner for a few weeks but I needed to get my head round the fact that I was on this damned (am I allowed to say that?) plateau and couldn't get off - mentally and physically.  Well, I'm happy to say that I have now given myself a firm slap and am very much back in the harness. Just to bring you up to date: On the 2nd January this year my weight was 12 stones 10lbs.  By the 3rd April I was down to 11stones 2lbs - a loss of 22lbs. And there I have remained for the last 3 MONTHS, despite the allure of being 10stones something by losing another 3lbs - and the fact that I only had 6lbs to lose to get to my original Weight Watchers Gold Weight of 10stones 10lbs (not seen again since 1994 [:-))] ) Anyway, this morning I weighed in at exactly 11 stones - where I have now been for the last few days.  So hurrah! the plateau is now a definite thing of the past; 24lbs lost and now only 4lbs to go to get back to the WW Gold weight again. In exactly two weeks time we're going over to the UK for a week - husband watching the Open Golf in Scotland and me SHOPPING in York !!  It would be brilliant to get down to the 10.10lbs before then but our friends who are house/pet sitting for us are arriving the Saturday before and I'm afraid that cal counting will not be an option.  I will be careful for those few days though, so watch this space and keep your fingers crossed. So come on everyone - and where are you new people from 2 weeks ago?  If I can get back on the horse then so can you!  Well done to everyone whose been hanging on in there - keep those postings coming, and those pounds going [:D] Lynda x  
  21. Maybe so Ron but all we had on the tax form was the cost of the actual stove and not the installation - on the recommendation of the English speaking tax information service !!!!  
  22. Hi Chris & Bert Very interesting that you have raised this issue at such a relevant time - i.e. we were in the tax office only last week submitting our tax return.  As I said in my posting, the installer was the guy who works for the stove supplier - though he is self-emplyed - and I believe that's where the problem lay.  Perhaps it's just that our French isn't good enough and despite explaining that the installer is the one that the shop always uses, they just didn't want to know and we had to cross it off our tax return. [:(] Having said all that we still feel we made the right decision and have had a wonderuflly warm winter - and even had to light it a few weeks ago when we had that cold snap !!!! The installation cost by the way was 1500 euros but he did do a lot of work - including raising the height of our chimney to conform to the correct height regulations (much good that it did us with the tax man !!) Hope this helps Lynda  
  23. Fiona - look at my other thread about cherries in brandy - all you ever wanted to know! L x  
  24. Is it me or is something weird going on with the technology [:(] (It seems to be ever since the wine advert appeared in the Food & Drink category - ???? - but then, what would I know [geek])  
  25. Yes Joy - strawberry jam - yummety yum [6].  And today it's cherries in brandy [:-))] All of which will, of course, go in our Christmas food hamper pressies [;-)] [6] [:)] Lynda x  
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