Thursday, 7 June 2012

Spare ribs

I occasionally go on, what is known in our house as, "The Shitty Food Diet."

The Shitty Food Diet is very simple and very effective - if what you want to do is lose a lot of weight very fast and don't really care about the impact on your health.

What you do is eat INCREDIBLY shitty food - but hardly any of it. So on the downside you get quite hungry, but on the upside, you've got some sort of disgusting, shaming treat waiting for you and the thing about diets is that they're all about morale.

So a typical day's menu might go like this:

Breakfast: 1 latte with chocolate croissant

Lunch: nothing

About 2pm: McDonald's double cheeseburger and small coke

6.30pm: 1 packet peanut M&Ms OR 1 Krispy Kreme OR 2 Jacob's cream crackers

Dinner: 3 small glasses of oaky Chardonnay and 2 handfuls of crisps

This is the kind of menu I find myself eating quite often and I am thin as a rake. People say to me "You are so thin, what diet are you on?" and I say "The Shitty Food Diet" and they go "Ha ha ha, no really."

Except next-eldest sister. She said "You are so thin, what diet are you on?" And I said "It's called The Shitty Food Diet." And she said "Ooh really - what does one do on that?" But my sister lives in Notting Hill - nothing surprises her.

So this is what I do on my own time, but on my husband's time, it's a different story.

But as it happens, we are getting a bit slack about provenence in this house. My husband's strict rules about what, exactly, one is allowed to buy and eat basically allow for us to eat almost nothing except kale and roast chickens. He doesn't want to buy, from a supermarket any fish that isn't mackerel or any meat that isn't produced by Duchy Originals. So if we haven't been to the farmer's market recently (where one can buy, guilt-free, anything one wants), the menu round here gets a bit samey.

I used to observe these rules faithfully but recently I've got a bit loose around the edges with it. The other day I just wanted some spare ribs, damn it. We'd just been to a restaurant called Sonny's Kitchen in Barnes, which was AMAZING - just the best food I've had for a really, really long time and worth a trip if you're anywhere near it.

You would think that being married to my husband I get to eat a lot of amazing food, but it isn't so. A lot of new restaurants we go to aren't very nice and if you order wrong, well: yuk. Sonny's Kitchen genuinely stood out.

So anyway we had these spare ribs, which were like, out of this world and I wanted to re-create them, although nothing like as spectacular. But I couldn't find any free range organic spare ribs in Waitrose so I just thought - fuck it - and bought the essentials ones.

And they turned out gorgeous, drowning in a barbeque sauce, which contained the following:

5 tablespoons tomato ketchup
3 heaped teaspoons English mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1tsp chinese five spice
the zest of 1/2 an orange if you have it
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablepoons veg oil to loosen
1 tablespoon vinegar, any sort

1 Mix together the sauce ingredients and leave the ribs to marinade for as long as you can - all day for preference but even 30 mins will make a difference.

2 Put in the oven at 180 for about 25 mins.


  1. Ahhhhh so that is why I can't lose weight! I also follow the Shitty Food diet but I get the quantities wrong and have 3 bags of hoola hoops for supper. Must try harder.

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  3. Sonny's is closing for refurb!! Boo.

  4. Hurray, shitty food diet! I swear I actually put on weight when I started trying to be more virtuous and eat "healthy", "balanced" "meals" rather than just grabbing a glass of wine and a Krispy Kreme and nothing else. It's a better life (though also perhaps a shorter one).

  5. I LOVE the idea of your shitty food diet...I could quite happily eat like that all the time but my husband likes 'proper' food so I'm condemned to have to diet with sensible stuff. It's so much harder. I'd almost rather go without lunch than eat a salad to be honest. As long as I keep busy I don't really feel hungry.
    When he next goes away on business trips it's shitty diet all the way!
    By the way, thanks for the barbecue sauce recipe. I keep being pestered for this by son and husband. They consider this 'Saturday night' food. Will have a bash this weekend.

  6. 180 degrees for 25 minutes????? Isn't that like almost raw?


  7. Ooops! Just realized you probably meant C and not F.


  8. You are so thin because that is the classic supermodel/ ballerina diet if you throw in 20 fags a day (and perhaps throw up the cheeseburger).

  9. I love your shitty diet. I used a shitty diet in my teenage years that consisted of black coffee, crisps and gin. Worked wonders. In my twenties packs of ham, red wine and nuts. Now I am healthy and do 5 a day nonsense and have hips. Grrrr.

  10. I love this diet! I'm going on it right now! I was over the moon because I bought a cauliflower for, UNDER a pound at a swanky farm shop on Saturday. We are not eating it. I'm framing it!! Now to follow your blog! Holly Bell sent me here via twitter :-)

  11. You see I would pay a tenner to read that diet book. In fact if you emailed me what you ate every day for one month I will send u a tenner (which is about the same you would write in a book). Deal?

  12. This is MY diet! I am also much slimmer than I used to be when I tried to eat 'healthy balanced meals'. Typical day:

    Breakfast: 2 spoons nutella and a chai latte

    Late lunch: Packet of crisps.

    Pre dinner: Ham rolled up out of the packet.

    Dinner: 2 gin and tonics, handful of olives, handful of fetta.

  13. Oh my god I totally do the Shitty Food Diet - double caramel latte for breakfast, standard lunch is a snickers/double twix with spoonfuls of peanut butter for tea and then everyone gets really annoyed and is all, you should eat a sandwich and then a chocolate bar for lunch blah blah blah really bad for you yada yada as they eat their two wedges of carbs and some salad. But who's laughing when you're super skinny and on a permanent sugarhigh? It's near enough perfect. Points for you Esther for the delightful naming of this mealplan!

  14. The spare ribs were very nice. Although I cooked them for about four times longer.

  15. You do the same diet as me! I also only ever slow cook spare ribs but I am going to give this recipe a try as it looks so yum! x