Cook yourself thin
The second series of Cook Yourself Thin begins on Channel 4, June 7
IT is no secret that many women would like to lose half a stone in order to unleash their inner model. But now it seems ladies not only want to tamper with their own silhouette, but that of their partner’s. Nearly a third of women admitted in a recent new survey commissioned by The Atkins Diet that they have insisted their partner loses weight. And around one in eight have also sneakily put their husband or boyfriend on a diet without telling them. But just how easy would it be to change a person’s eating habits without their knowledge, or spoiling their dinner?
Very easy, if the approach of presenter and chef, Gizzi Erskine, is to be believed.
As the second series of Cook Yourself Thin hits our screens on June 7, she explains that any household can lower its calorie intake and still enjoy their food. “When we did the last series, we focused on doing lower fat versions of dishes, like a low-fat lasagne,” the 30-year-old presenter explains. “But at the end of the day, the low-fat version doesn’t always taste as good, so now we’re thinking: What could people eat instead along the same theme?”
Throughout the 15-episode series, former body piercer Gizzi takes on the most ardent fat fans, and encourages them to move their taste buds on.
“One guy only ate deep fried food, or things cooked in an inch of oil. He was from north- ern Cyprus, and that was just how he cooked. He wasn’t eating vegetables, and loved fish and chips.”
Gizzi, whose Sixties-style hair and dark brown eyes won over viewers last time round, said that the only way to alter the man’s diet, was to introduce some new dishes.
Instead of attempting to make a low-calorie version of fish ‘n’ chips, which she admits “wouldn’t be a patch on the real thing”, she took inspiration from Asian cooking.
“In Japan, you’ve got tempura. These are usually battered veggies and fish. They are naturally lower in fat because they use thinner batter, and are also served with rice, rather than deep-fried chips.”
While a portion of fish ‘n’ chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce, can come in at 1200 calories, a big portion of tempura, with rice, and dipping sauce, adds up to a comparatively small 450 calories per serving.
Gizzi says that there’s usually a delicious alternative to your favourite foods.
“If you’re a massive fan of Chinese, then you could try Dim Sum, or Vietnamese food. For me, this series is about opening people’s eyes, showing them what you can eat, not what you can’t eat.”
And if you still can’t shift the weight, or get your partner to change their diet, Gizzi also knows a few tricks.
You can substitute high-fat ingredients for low-fat ones, she explains.
“I make a chocolate truffle cake, where the only fat comes from eggs and almonds.
“I use fructose sugar and to bind the mixture, add boiled orange. This creates a sticky marmalady substance and makes the most moist fudge cake you’ll ever get your hands on. “I swear no one can tell the difference!” Claiming that she also makes brownies with sweet potatoes, it’s clear Gizzi is seriously imaginative when it comes to food.
“Using sweet potatoes means you don’t have to add the sugar. And as long as you use proper chocolate, which disguises the taste of the sweet potato, it creates a fantastic texture.”
Here is one of her calorie-busting recipes...