Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ham, cheese and spinach fritatta

My mind, in the last fortnight, has turned to diets. Specifically the diet I intend to hit once this baby is finally out. One of the worst things about being up the duff for me has been the fatness. Fat face, fat legs, fat arms, fat bum, fat BACK, fat HAIR, fat EYES fat FINGERS. Fat fat fat.

Horrible. I'm not a fattist, or one of those people who finds fat people repulsive. But I DO, now, wonder how those who choose to be overweight can stand it. When you are overweight, everything is such a major hassle - from tying your shoelaces and walking upstairs to getting dressed. And your feet hurt all the time.

And I don't believe that getting fat involves some kind of moral choice. I just hate being fat. I don't carry these 3 extra stone well. Some people put on weight and look glossy and curvy. I look like a pudding. It all goes on my face, under my chin and on my arms and I look just awful.

Other people say to me "Yes but give yourself a break.. you'll be really hungry when you're breastfeeding and being pregnant is like a bomb going off and you'll probably take 18 months to get back to normal and yah yah yah noise noise talking talking talking boring boring not listening..."

I know it is shallow but I can't help it. I just want to be thin again. I say thin, I mean slim - I've never exactly been Nicole Ritchie. But I'll do pretty much whatever it takes to get this blubber off. And once I'm back to my old weight I am never, ever going to do that thing where I complain about being "fat" - I had NO IDEA what being fat meant until I got pregnant. I will just be thankful every day that I haven't got three chins. Until my husband demands another baby, of course.

But losing weight and keeping it off takes a considerable mental shift. Ever since I put on 1.5 stone at university and then lost it all on a semi-Atkins diet, I've never eaten just whatever the hell I liked - I was permanently running away from pasta and potatoes and screaming in fright at Krispy Kremes. But for the last 9 months I have been eating anything - pies and cakes and cream and stodge and coca cola and whatever else to keep my spirits up. But soon carbs will be out, protein and vegetables will be in.

So I thought I'd start re-flexing my no-carb cooking arm again in preparation, with this frittata. It's marvellously easy and more interesting, somehow, (despite being basically the same thing), than an omelette. You can chuck in whatever you like - cooked bacon, mushroom, finely-chopped courgette, different sorts of cheese, tomatos, peppers - whatever. Just no potatoes.

Ham, cheese and spinach frittata
For 1 hungry person, or for 2 with a salad

3-4 eggs
1 handful cooked chopped ham
1 handful any cheese you like
1 handful steamed chopped spinach
salt and pepper
1 tbs cream or sour cream (if you have it knocking about)
some butter for cooking

1 Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. Beat eggs, salt, pepper and cream in a roomy bowl then add all the other ingredients, except the butter.

2 Heat the knob of butter in a non-stick pan until it's foaming and then pour in the egg mixture. Cook this over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, then slide pan under the grill to finish off the top. It's ready when it's light and springy to the touch and a weeny bit wobbly in the centre - about 2-3 minutes.


  1. Yum this looks great. I look forward to more low carb posts. I too have to watch every single morsel I put in my mouth. It can get incredibly depressing, but being HUGE is even more depressing.

  2. Delicious looking frittata. You must be loving your new camera.
    I too bow before Atkins. It's a genius diet because it feels nothing like a diet. With all that protein I have the energy of three women whenever I'm on it. Plus you are forced to get creative with recipes when you're on Atkins. There's only so much steak & omlettes you can take.
    I'm looking forward to seeing some of yours so I can add them to my own collection.
    It's a difficult time now, but don't despair. You'll be back to your old svelte self before long.

  3. I hear you.

    But I have enjoyed the excuse to be fat too. And I don't mean eating 5 mars bars a day, just allowing myself to cook sauces and eat pastry sometimes, the kind of thing that would send me into a huge guilt trip normally.

  4. In Iranian cooking there is a dish called kookoo which is very similar (although does not contain ham). It is a delicious feast of spinach and herbs (although I put in whatever I feel like and whatever is lurking in the fridge), with barberries thrown in for pockets of sourness. For people not running away from carbs, you can put sliced potatoes on the bottom to make it extra tasty. Traditionally it is a side-dish, to go with the gloriously buttered rice and steaming casserole (khoresht) of the day, but I quite like it on its own as a light supper, with a salad or something :)

    And I know what you mean, I'm small and slim, and people always say 'oh but you're so thin' and the voice in my head is going 'yes because I have to be, it's either this or looking like a pink/white/blotchy ball' ... here's hoping that motherhood helps you shed it all quickly!

  5. Im 4 months and have been fighting to coming fat like it is the plague. Oddly enough, I had planned on doing a frittata tonight for dinner. When are you due?

  6. I'm due on 6th Feb. I'm not sure, looking back, if I'd do much differently, re my pregnant eating - so many visceral pleasures get snatched away that eating doughnuts is a sort of consolation. Possibly next time I will not drink quite as many full-fat Cokes...

  7. Much better for you than Diet Cokes, y'know. Oh golly I'm hungry and that looks utterly delicious, I wish you were here, cooking me lunch.

  8. Well that's what I tell myself Sazzle. BTW I'm sorry not to have made it to your exhibits - but your artists look amazing. Once baby out and I'm back on my feet I'll be a regular xxxx

  9. I think you've had a pretty good excuse! Plus I've been a right pest with all those emails. Best of luck with it love, the force is with you xx xx

  10. Hello,

    Am currently embarking on a pre-wedding effort to slim down (and ugh, I am ashamed of being SUCH a cliche) - I am convinced by your low-carb evangelism but what about things on the carb hinterland like butternut squash, carrots, lentils? Is it ok to scoff them with impunity or is that being really, idiotically stupid?

    Lovely looking frittata by the way, do you think it'd be nice cold (packed lunch)?

  11. Yes I was ashamed of my cliche pre-wed crash too but it is ESSENTIAL because the weight doesn't just "drop off" due to "stress", it drops off because you don't eat bread for 3 months.

    My policy is to avoid only:

    refined sugar (but not fructose, so you can eat fruit)

    That is hard enough. Eat everything else with impunity because you will find that there are only so many butternut squashes, sweet potatoes and lentils you can eat before going insane. But pasta, potatoes, pizza etc we could all eat until the cows come home.

    Yes, FINE, if you want to be 6 stone, you have to do Atkins properly and be a fascist about fruit and stuff, but if you're just looking to trim up a bit, you're more likely to be successful if you cut yourself some slack.

    Don't bother cutting out the booze if you can't face it. Keep your diet as varied as you can and weight will come off.

    Yes, frittata is fantastic cold, chopped up and wrangled into a lunchbox xxx

  12. That's brilliant, thank you! I'll do it. Just a few months to go (then no bread basket will be safe)...

  13. on honeymoon I ate nothing but pasta and chips and it was fucking brilliant x

  14. I lost so much weight with my last baby walking twice a day to get her to sleep and breastfeeding that I'd never been so slim. That was with my daily dose of cadbury's milk too. Honestly it just completely fell off. Contemplating having another one to get me down to super skinny! Couldn't contemplate a life without bread. x

  15. I thought fat hair was supposed to be a bonus of pregnancy? Don't freak out when it all falls out!

  16. Lovely. The one place I go to get away from the endless baby-talk congesting my Facebook feed.

  17. Hey, can I join the pre-wedding freak-out too? It's 10 weeks til mine and am needing recipes/meal plans/some gaffa tape to stop me eating! Esther - did you post recipes when you were on this diet? If so, when in the archive should I be looking for? Need better inspiration than grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli! Will defo try out the fritatta this weekend. Thanks xx

  18. But would should we have for breakfast? Any ideas?