Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Diet time

So, I'm on a diet. I'm getting married at the end of next month and I've just realised that the reason people get really thin before they get married is because they go on a diet. I thought the weight just miraculously fell off due to stress or something.

But no, actually you have to stop drinking and go for a run and stop eating rounds of toast covered in Nutella while you watch 12 back-to-back episodes of Judge Judy that you recorded on the V+ box. For example.

Yesterday I went shopping and bought diet food. That is, I bought cheese and a lot of vegetables like kale and spinach and bok choi and broccoli and some artichoke hearts in a jar. And I also bought some chicken livers and chorizo. Carb-free - that's the secret to upper arms like Sandra Bullock when you're 40. I am so pleased Sandra Bullock won an Oscar. I don't know why but I just think she's nice and is probably deserves it after all her hard work in movies like 28 Days, Speed and Miss Congeniality.

Anyway so last night I had my first diet dinner of grilled chicken thighs and a broad bean salad.

When I was younger, I always thought that the easy thing to cook was chicken breasts, under a grill. But it turns out that they are as dry as cotton wool and boring as hell if you grill them. The things to grill are chicken thighs, which stay juicy, but they are still relatively quick to cook - about 25-30 mins under a hot grill. And a broad bean salad can be cheered up with some feta, broccoli and artichoke hearts and a lemony, salty dressing with mint and dill.

It's still freezing outside and this is rather a summery dinner but I just don't want to eat anymore GOD DAMNED stew.
So here we go:

For 2

4 chicken thighs
two large handfuls of broad beans
about eight small florets of broccoli
8 or so artichoke hearts
100g of feta, cubed
olive oil
lemon juice

There are a lot of herbs here, I know - I use herbs more when I'm on a diet to liven up boring diet food and bought a lorry-load especially on Monday morning. None of them are especially compulsary, this would still be okay without them. You might also notice that I haven't included any garlic - this is because I don't eat raw garlic, but feel free to add it in to the dressing or to the chicken marinade if you do.

1 - Turn on the grill and marinade the chicken thighs (if you've got time) in some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and thyme. If you're just putting the chicken straight under the grill, sprinkle a bit of salt on the skin so it goes crispy. Grill these for about 25-30 minutes and check they're done before serving. I know, stupid thing to say, but I am constantly being caught out by slightly underdone chicken. It doesn't help that often in a pack of 4 chicken thighs, 2 will be enormous and 2 will be tiny, meaning differing cooking times.

2 - Boil the broad beans and broccoli for about 5 minutes each and drain.

3 - Mix together the oil, lemon, salt, pepper, mint and dill in a dressing according to your taste. If you're using a very grassy olive oil, you might like to mix in some ground nut oil as well. I hate it when recipes say "according to taste" but, genuinely, you might hate mint and love lemon - or something.

4 - Put the broccoli, beans, artichoke hearts and feta in a salad bowl, pour over dressing and toss together.

5 - Let the chicken thighs rest for 10-15 minutes to avoid post-cooking rubberiness. You may want to squeeze over the chicken some extra lemon, as Giles is doing in the picture above.


  1. I'll admit the d-word made me worry a bit, but this sounds bloody lovely.

  2. Nice recipe! I think if there's one good rule to losing weight, it's eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

  3. You're absolutely right. Breakfast = free carbohydrates. Toast AND cereal AND a boiled egg. Tiny lunch. A slice of cucumber for dinner. xxx