I love TV cookery programmes but I wish they would share the nutritional facts about their dishes. TV chefs use a lot more oil and butter than I do at home and the possibility of eating something very unhealthy prevents me from following most of the recipes. I was delighted when last night the Barefoot Contessa (Ira) explained that todays programme was to be about cooking great food with her close friend (who had recently shed 40lbs) and lots of healthy living.
Breakfast started well with Summer fruits marinated in a rich balsamic vinegar that looked like treacle almost – until Ira doused the fruit liberally with sugar.
These apparently are not ladies who lunch – not in this episode anyway and we moved straight on to dinner. This was a crab meat salad dressed with lime zest, rather a lot of lime juice, a dollop of mayonnaise and a few sprigs of mint, finely chopped. Perhaps it’s just me but it looked awful and in my opinion, probably tasted even worse. Desert was 3 scoopfuls of home made frozen yogurt. I couldn’t help thinking the calories would have been better spent on some steamed or stir fried vegetables to accompany the uninspiring crab, which would have also boosted the nutritional value of the meal.
I found myself wondering how the ladies could survive on such little food in a day. The mystery was solved when at midnight, the ladies were found in the kitchen gorging on hot buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I was appalled when Ira laughingly said food not eaten at the table doesn’t count. I think her waistline would disagree. TV chefs could use their influence to encourage us to eat healthily and in sensible portions with the odd treat thrown in now and then. Instead, they line the coffers of the food industry by tempting us to eat ever more. If only the popular Nigella Lawson could lead by example and not eat chocolate cheesecake straight from the fridge when everyone else is safely tucked in bed!
Losing weight is hard work and is not for the faint or half hearted. Food needs to be tasty, inspiring and yet healthy for people to continue with their efforts. I would make a dressing of sweet chilli sauce, a dash of soya sauce, a clove of garlic, some freshly crushed ginger, spring onions, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice for the crab. I would serve it with individual iceberg lettuce leaves to wrap the crab in and a stir fry of green beans or similar on the side.
Which version of dressed crab would you go for?