Pa­trick Skin­ner goes easy-on-the-waist­line

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The email I was dread­ing ar­rived on my lap­top last week. “Dear Pa­trick”, it read, “I want to lose weight – can you rec­om­mend a diet?” My sim­plis­tic an­swer would be “Eat less!”, but it’s not as easy as that. Chang­ing any part of your lifestyle is in the mind, and

Diet, of course, is not only about weight. It’s about sugar-lev­els (and avoid­ing di­a­betes) and choles­terol as well. You can achieve and main­tain good health through sen­si­ble eat­ing. I main­tain you can also en­joy ev­ery meal. Hav­ing lived in the Mediter­ranean for many years, I be­came ac­cus­tomed to food that was gen­er­ally good for you, pro­vided one largely ig­nored most Cypriot taverna keep­ers’ cus­tom of serv­ing for­eign­ers chips with ev­ery­thing. If you re­ally do want a regime: look up If you just want a bit of ad­vice from this old hand, then… 1. Cut down on “dairy” (but­ter, cheese, cream es­pe­cially) and an­i­mal fat; 2. Don’t snack be­tween meals; 3. Use a polyun­sat­u­rated oil in­stead of fats for cook­ing; 4. Re­duce the amount on the plate, e.g. in­stead of four roast pota­toes, have three; two rash­ers of ba­con and not three; one slice of but­tered toast in­stead of two, and so on;

5. Eat less jam, cakes, buns and sug­ary pud­dings. Try to eat more fruit and veg­eta­bles, tak­ing in nat­u­ral sugar rather than the packed stuff.

For much of the time, we don’t have to bother with too many heavy dishes, be­cause gen­er­ally lighter plates of chicken, rab­bit, fish and veg­eta­bles are suf­fi­cient for our needs. I shall try and of­fer you some healthy and tasty dishes from time to time. Cut them out and keep them and you will soon have a guide to keep fit food. I start with one of the best veg­eta­bles you can find for nour­ish­ment, the sweet pep­per.

One of the essences of Chi­nese cook­ery is the use of the steamer – but it seems most of us want all our far-eastern dishes fried, so you don’t see too many steamed dishes on of­fer in Chi­nese restau­rants. Steam­ing not only keeps the flavours in, but also pro­duces very nour­ish­ing food. This vaguely ori­en­tal main dish is jolly tasty. 1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. 2. Mix the chicken with the sherry, sugar, corn-flour and salt. 3. Slice the mush­rooms and ginger very, very finely. 4. Grease an enamel or Pyrex plate with a lit­tle oil, and place the chicken pieces on it. 5. Put the mush­rooms and ginger on top, sprin­kle over the pep­per and the sun­flower oil. 6. Steam vig­or­ously for 20 min­utes. (Note: if you don’t have a steamer, stand the plate on a bowl in a very large pan one third filled with wa­ter, so that it is well above the wa­ter level. Cover and keep the wa­ter bub­bling rea­son­ably).

7. Serve at once, with ei­ther plain steamed rice or noo­dles (ready-cooked, such as “Amoy”, are con­ve­nient)

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