Some say that Day 3 or 4 are the hardest when you are dieting or on a detox. Any sort of limitation always gets you thinking more about exactly what you cannot have.
|Lunch on day 11: Pan-fried tofu with African Chicken sauce and baby bok choy with garlic|
But I say the hardest days are the final ones. After all the days of hard work, towards the end of it you start making excuses for little cheats, you say to yourself, “There’s no harm if there is a little bit of vinegar on my salad, is there? The kitchen made a mistake, and I can’t very well send the dish back just because I neglected to mention that my detox stipulates that I shouldn’t eat it…?” Or you start getting very confident, and when your friend asks you if you can come to a wine tasting dinner that he’s organising, you feel confident that you can sit there and watch everyone drink, talk about, and enjoy glass after glass of wine – “Sure! I’ve come this far, of course I’ll be able to drink Perrier all night!”
Yeah. Right. That would be a big N-O. That’s where I lost it last Friday night, sitting in Red Tavern with 5 other people and 5 bottles of wine.
We went to Life Cafe (again) for lunch and we were superbly unimpressed with our food. The frittata had been reheated, and to my eyes the egg was taking on that dull grey-ish hue that eggs can become when they’re more than a few hours old.
I was thoroughly unexcited by the poached egg with za’atar. The dish had not been seasoned at all, and when we asked for salt and pepper, the staff gave us a large table salt dispenser, which shouldn’t have been given to a customer because it contained rice grains and was obviously meant for the kitchen. All of the dispensing holes were large enough to let the rice through, which meant we had to pick out individual grains from our meal.
I had ordered whole fish for the first time from South Stream Seafoods (SSS), and wanted to try a baked flounder recipe that evening for dinner. I was quite excited about the fresh fish that is advertised by SSS, but when I took it out of the bag, the overwhelming smell indicated that perhaps it used to be fresh! It was still edible, so we continued with the recipe, but the smell lingered throughout the cooking process and remained in the final dish when it was plated, altogether a little unpleasant. We ate some but didn’t finish it – the caper and tomato dressing that we made was quite tasty though, reminiscent of a sunshine-y summer in Provence!
|Smelly whole flounder|
Whole Roasted Flounder with Caper and Tomato Dressing
1 cup flat parsley leaves, washed and dried
1/2 cup of onion, finely diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
20 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1 kg flounder, skin on, cleaned, gutted and head removed
|Oops, forgot to remove the head…|
Preheat the oven to 425 F/218 C.
To prepare the flounder, rise the fish and pat dry. Brush both sides of the fish with olive oil, then place in a roasting dish lined with baking parchment (so the skin won’t stick). Place the fish white skin side down in the dish, and bake until the flesh pulls away easily from the bone, about 18-20 minutes.
Place the fish on a flat surface and cut an outline of the top two fillets – trace a line down the backbone, and also an inch from the outside edge of the fish from head to tail. Using a spatula or wide knife, remove the fillets by lifting them up and away from the backbone. Plate the top two fillets
Using a knife, lift the backbone and the tailbone and set aside. Separate the bottom fillets and plate them.
We ate the fish with a rice (quinoa for me!) mixed with a cooked tomato and shallot sauce.