Archive for the ‘food’ Category

(EB) Plum on Cuba Street

April 23, 2012

I’ve been to Plum before. They have wonderful desserts. One day I went there with friends for an afternoon drink and snack (we’d been somewhere in town that morning), stayed chatting and found it was dinner time so ordered dinner.
It;s a lovely place with mirrors all along one wall and a good, comfortable atmosphere.My friend, Mona, and I started our level two burlesque class today. I suggested we eat using the Entertainment Book and gave her a few options. She sensibly suggested “anywhere on Cuba” as the dance studio is there. So we went to Plum.

I had the Free Range Corn Fed Chicken Breast Stuffed w Herbed Cream
Cheese On Sautéed Mushroom, Artichoke & Bacon Lardons (full price $25.00) and Mona had the Seared Aoraki Salmon on ratatouille (full price $26.00)
Salmon at Plum on Cuba Street
which melted in the mouth – it was wonderful.

We shared a side order of Gourmet Potatoes Tossed In Salsa Verde ($7)

The service was good and we had a glass of white wine each before going off to giggle with our new classmates.

Venue: Plum on Cuba Street
Offer: BOGOF (up to value of $35)
Visited: Tuesday, 18th April 2012 at 6pm
Verdict: Fabulous food, nice venue.


EB: Concrete Bar in Cable Car Lane

April 23, 2012

We go to the pub quiz at the Green Man on Monday evenings. We meet others from the Wellington Wonders meetup group and the meetup officially starts at 6.30pm, for the quiz that starts at 7pm. This means eating out (or taking a packed dinner as well as a packed lunch) as it leaves no time to go home first. The food at the Green Man is variable in quality and overpriced so, if we remember, we try to eat somewhere else. It occurred to me that we should have been using the Entertainment Book (EB) for this.This week (16th April) we did. I chose ‘ Concrete Bar on Cable car Lane, about halfway between my office and the Green Man. The offer for 2011/2012 is ‘one complimentary main course when another main course of equal or greater value is purchased’ Maximum value $30 (BOGOF).

I took a look at the menu and found that mains were only served at lunchtime, that the evening menu was tapas, so I called them. A very friendly and helpful girl took my call. She explained that on Mondays and Tuesdays we could order from the lunch menu. She took a reservation and said she would tell the chef we would want to order from the lunch menu. The 2012/2013 offer is for 25% off the total bill.

Two of us arrived and were seated by the window where we could look down and see if the third was on his way. We were given menus, cold water and asked if we wanted to order drinks (we didn’t – I try not to drink during the week). Joe and I ordered the rosemary roasted New Zealand lamb cutlets served on a rocket, cucumber and parmesan cheese salad. The cutlets were topped with a mint, pea and parmesan pesto and a balsamic reduction. The full price was $22.50 (so we paid $11.25 each). It was lovely. The salad very fresh and the cutlets so delicious I wanted to eat the bone. The portion was a lunch size, or a dinner size if a side of carbs were added.

Rik had the chicken quesadilla – also delicious was a very tasty filling. His chips were great too. His choice cost $16.50 and we didn’t get a discount ont hat as we’d used it on the more expensive lamb dishes.


Venue: Concrete Bar on Level 1 of Cable Car Lane (just off Lambton Quay)
Offer: buy one main course get another free
Visited: Monday, 16th April 2012 at 5.30.
Verdict: Great food, good service.

New Zealand photo dieter

February 28, 2010

Breakfast: Vogel’s cafe style light muesli & lite milk
Lunch: slice of Vogel’s 12 grain bread, olive oil spread, cheese, tomato, mini cucumber, red pepper, grapes
Afternoon snack: chicken noodles
Dinner: spaghetti bolognaise
Supper: fresh pineapple 

Well, I’ve now moved to the other side of the world and have found a house and a kitchen. Our goods arrived by ship and were delivered the day after we moved into the house and I have set about putting my kitchen to rights, deciding what goes in which cupboard. I have a much better kitchen than the one I left behind in England. Well, it could hardly have been worse, really! 

Although I have visited NZ three times before, and fed myself each time, cooking in a proper kitchen in which I am staying put, rather than in a succession of backpackers, is a very different thing. I am discovering many subtle differences. 

Pork pies are not like UK pork pies (but I knew that already – my kiwi brother had raved about English pork pies when he visited many years ago). 

A standard large loaf in the UK is 800g. Here it is 720g. This means that slices are smaller. 

In the UK milk comes as ‘ordinary’ (I can’t for the life of me think what it is called) which is, if I remember correctly, 4% fat; semi skimmed which is 2% fat and which I usually bought; and skimmed which is 1% fat and is tasteless and unpleasant.
Here milk is standard (I think), lite and trim. I keep forgetting which has more fat, lite or trim. I know they have less fat than the UK semi and skimmed. There is also calci-trim. And probably others that I’ve yet to encounter. 

Supermarket meat is a better quality than I expected and they generally have a good selection of fish and seafood. Fruit and veg are generally more expensive than I had expected and have been variable in tastiness (so far). 

I feel that my weight is creeping back up so I have given up the L&P and Tim Tams and am photo-dieting again.
Nearly all the brand names are different so the calorie charts for bought foods that I already had are of no use. I shall have to start over again with a spreadsheet.

Special K Day 3 – shouldn’t it start getting easier now?

March 12, 2009

It’s certainly easy to pack my food bag for this diet. The same everyday. Adding an apple t my morning food – eaten on the way to work – has helped get me through the morning. Putting the blueberries and raspberries (taken out of the freezer the night before) on the luchtime cereal makes it more interesting and gives me a ‘sweet boost’.

I can’t go from lunch at 1pm to dinner at about 6.30pm with nothing in between so I’m having a small tin of pineapple rings in the afternoon. My choice of tinned fruit was governed by my having lots of small tins of pineapple in the house as I bought some at Costco. The small tin is enough to give me some extra food without being too much.

Dinner was a Marks & Spencer microwave meal. Not ideal but right now Ineed something that I can just throw in the oven or microwave and be eating very quickly. If I make my own food I will eat too much of it. It was nice enough. There was quite a bit of veg (25%) and the rice okay. The chicken tasted like chicken in all microwave meals – artificial. The sauce left a lingering chemical taste in my mouth later that evening. But I’ve had worse.

SO had been to Costco and bought, as well as a twin pack of Special K, some bananas, apples and a huge box of grapes. I can eat a standard box (400g?) of grapes in one sitting. Fortunately, this box was so big – 1.8kg (I just checked) – that I was able to just weigh out 200g to eat now as my brain, and even my tummy, knew that I could not eat them all at once so didn’t even think about trying to.

But now I have to start thinking about food for the weekend, and for Friday when we go to aqua aerobics straight from work and traditionally go the Chinese chip shop on the way home. I had toyed with the idea of making somekind of chicken and vegetable dish in the slow cooker, so it would be ready as soon as we got in on Friday. I’d asked the SO to get some carrots, and some mushrooms for the prawn stir-fry I’m planning for Saturday but he didn’t find any.

Limiting my food intake when I have to carry it away from the house is one thing; restricting my food intake when I’m at home with a full freezer, fridge and cupboards is a whole different story. I popped into M&S Food at lunchtime (there is one a couple of minutes walk from my office) and bought some spinach and three ‘Count On Us’ (ie diet version) beef lasagnes. Why three? they were three for £5 makeing the third one cost not a lot (I don’t remember the exact price of buying just one). I decided that we can have them when we get home from water aerobics on Friday. I’ll have to wait 40 minutes though (30 mins cooking plus time for the oven to heat up). I guess I could try setting the oven to come on so they are cooked when we get home. Then I realised that doing a 45 minute aqua aerobics class on about 400 calories is just not going to work. Should I have a meal at lunchtime and cereal after the class, I wondered? I decided that something hot to pop in the microwave at lunchtime was a must, and that I would still have a hot meal (the beef lasagne and spinach) after the class. I can still keep within the calorie limit. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Special K day 2

March 11, 2009

I remembered some fruit today (well last night, when I took the raspberries out of the freezer and the pineapple (not shown) out of the cupboard). I also put the cereal in a much smaller contain and it seemed to be more filling – it must be true that our eyes inform our tummies about how much food they think we are getting.

I was dismayed (probably too strong a word) to discover boxes of cakes in the office kitchen this morning, must be someone’s birthday. But I ignored them. They are not for me, I am dieting.

I had to get the bus to work as SO had an osteopath appointment at about 9ish. I knew that I woul dneed to eat before I got to work so put an apple in my bag. I then had the first lot of cereal once I got there.

I try to take my lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. That way the afternoon is shorter and home time seems to come more quickly. However, I was very busy today and barely had tome to stop. I too twenty minutes at 1.40 and had athe second lot of cereal with the berries that I have forgotten earlier.

During the afteroon I was quite hungry, but not as much as yesterday (well I had eaten more today – an apple and 60g of raspberries more) and kept drinking water.

This didn’t stop me from feeling hungry by home time (though not as badly as yesterday) and I had a can of four pineapple rings (which I forgot to photograph) just before I left the office for the 25 minute walk to SO’s office.

Dinner was more runner beans (I do like them) with a Marks & Spencer COU (Count On Us) sweet & sour chicken with vegetable rice microwave meal. I’d love to cook something instead but know that I will add too much oil or make too big a portion if I do. I’m sticking to prepared food for a couple of days and am looking forward to a home-cooked prawn stir-fry on Saturday.

Tuesday evenings is the pub quiz at our local and we go with our next door neighbour. I was going to have orange juice and diet lemondade but wondered ‘is there more calories in orange juice than lager?” So I had lager, but two halves instead of two pints.

When I got home SO asked me to cut him a piece of cake (left over from last week’s party). It smelled good but I resisted and had a tin of peach slices in juice instead.

Nutritional data:
Calories (kcal) 1351
Protein (g) 51.9
Carbohydrate (g) 222.6
Fat (g) 11.0
Fibre (g) 19.8
Fruit & Veg 10.5

What do you eat now that you didn’t have as a child?

February 1, 2009

or vice versa – are there things you used to eat that you don’t now? I got to thinking about this when writing my week two story for 52 stories. I never ate yoghurt till I fed it to my first child. Chinese and Indian, indeed any ethnic ‘take-away’ foods were unheard of in my childhood. We didn’t have gravy with our roast dinners – and I’m still useless at making gravy. I never had sweetcorn (either canned or frozen, or on the cob or mini), courgettes, aubergine, mange tout or sugar snaps. We seldom had rice or pasta – when we did they were considered exotic. We certainly never had curry.

Is there anything I ate then that I don’t now? Probably although nothing springs to mind. Jelly and blancmange, perhaps. But I suspect that is more to do with it being a children’s dish rather than it being ‘of it’s time’ (although it probably true too.

I certainly ate a lot more cakes in a greater variety then than I do now. My mother made wonderful cakes. As well as the chocolate eclairs mentioned in the story – with tinned cream inside and chocolate icing made with cocoa powder on the top – she made coconut pyramids and cream horns. She had special tins for these. The cream horns were made by wrapping a long thin strip of puff pastry around a cone-shaped tin, egg washing it and sprinkling with sugar. After it was cooked and cooled a spoonful of strawberry jam was put in the bottom and the rest of the cone was filled with (tinned) cream.

Mum also made something that didn’t have a name. We just called them ‘those round pineapple things’. This was a circle of shortcrust pastry – the size of the tin which pineapple rings came in – topped with a ring of canned pineapple. On top of that went another circle of pastry – this one had a hole cut out of the middle, to correspond with the hole in the pineapple. The hole was filled with a meringue mixture before baking it in the oven. Which reminds me, pineapple always came from a tin, never fresh. Avocados were also something I didn’t see until the late 1990s.

So what about you?

A Full Week of Photo-Dieting

January 9, 2009

Well I’ve restarted the photo-dieting for 2009. I didn’t bother over Christmas because I gave myself permission to snack and nibble.

The photo above shows my best day this week. All healthy, all weighed and counted. But recording what I eat on the bad and the not-so-good days is important too. The rest of the week looked like this:

Friday 2nd Jan:
Friday 2 Jan 09
Saturday 3rd Jan:
Saturday, 3rd Jan
Sunday 4th Jan
Sunday, 4th Jan
Tuesday 6th Jan
Tuesday, 6th January
Wednesday 7th Jan
Wednesday, 7th January
Thursday 8th Jan
Thursday, 8th January
Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the original on my flickr stream which tells you a bit more about them.

Tomorrow should be okay-ish. On Saturday we are going out for lunch and on Sunday we are off to Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt for a week so the food should be interesting!

I’ve exercised quite a bit this week.
On Monday I swam 25 lengths.
On Tuesday I did my first ever pilates class.
On Thursday I did my first relaxercise class. I had hoped to do my second pilates class as well but the instructor was delayed.
On Friday I will be back at ‘splashy’ (aqua aerobics) and hope to swim before the class.

Next week I’ll be swimming – in the sea and a pool, I hope – and will use the hotel gym.

2009 Photo-Diet Project

January 2, 2009

Well it’s just a few weeks till my birthday. I’m not going to be anywhere near my target weight for my 50th, but I am fitter and a bit slimmer (about two dress sizes).

I have a couple of new members of my Photo-Diet Project Group (now renamed 2009 Photo-Diet Project – feel free to come and join us) on flickr so I really had to get back to photo-dieting. There is still holiday food in the house to be eaten. I have drinks that need to be used before I emigrate. But, there is no reason not to get back on track.

Well, there is one reason. In a week’s time I’m off to Sharm-el-Sheikh for a week so I won’t be in charge of what’s on offer at mealtimes. I will be incharge of what I put on my plate and in my mouth though. I will be exercising – will be snorkelling and have a new (UK size 14) swimming costume bought today.

Today’s food:
Breakfast: muesli (berries & cherries) and semi-skimmed milk

Lunch: (at the shops) wholemeal sandwich: duck in hoisin sauce, cucumber, celery, tomato (I had 3/4 of this)

Afternoon snack: 2 satsumas, 3 maltesers, a bit of Galaxy, a choc liqueur

Dinner: fish in butter sauce, boiled potatoes, petit pois

Evening drink: Limoncello

I also had about five cups of tea with sweetener and ss milk.

Food Shopping Project 2/3

September 17, 2008

If you click on the photo it will take you to the original on flickr where notes on each item will tell you what they are and the individual prices (in GB£).

I hadn’t thought about shopping bags before I left the house as I was going to the gym. But I caught the train back and that stops near(ish) the supermarket so I got my shopping done in the same trip. So I had to buy bags. I didn’t want plastic, even the recyclable ones, so bought another jute bag (I must had three now) and a rather nifty cotton bag that folds up into its own pocket.

Also bought but not shown: toilet rim cleaner thing £1.22 and two bags: one jute at £1 and one fair trade cotton at 99p

The cheesecake and the loaf cake are for Rik. He loves cheesecake and has been feeling a bit low and stressed lately so I wanted to cheer him up.

Total cost £38.35
or US$68.54
or NZ$103.55
or €48.12

Before getting on the train I popped into the little M&S food shop at Milton Keynes station because I’d not only forgotten bags, but hadn’t brought anything to eat after the gym. I bought this
Food Shopping Project 2/2
Total cost in M&S:
Total cost £5
or US$8.92
or NZ$13.49
or €6.30

Academics Prove I am Right: Photo-dieting helps you lose weight

September 5, 2008

A friend sent me a link to an article in the online version of The Daily Mail newspaper. The article was headed ‘The Flash Diet: taking photos of meals helps slimmers lose weight’.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 43 people to record what they ate in both words and photographs. They found that

‘photo diaries were a far more effective and accurate record of daily calories and a far more powerful disincentive to overeat.’

I, and the others who have been doing this for some time, know this to be true. However, I have to disagree with the assertion that seeing the photos of how much they ate gave dieters ‘a guilt trip’ about how much they ate. It isn’t clear whether that came from the research or from the reporter. As it is the Daily Mail, I suspect the latter. Guilt trips are not a healthy attitude to eating or dieting and weightloss. Guilt trips are not what photodieting is about.

I think of it, as the subtitle of my blog says, as ‘food re-education through a lens’ with the emphasis on re-education. About what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.

Still it’s nice to know that university academics agree with me, even if their sample size was less than half that of the members of the flickr Photo-diet Project group.