Bram Stoker

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Little Abraham Stoker was a sickly child, born into the middle of the Great Potato Famine. His mother kept him entertained for his first seven years by telling him tales of Irish lore: interweaving the supernatural with the real in fanciful stories with a Gothic slant. Somehow he out-grew his infirmities in time to attend Trinity College. There, the handsome, sociable man excelled at oratory and debate while being a champion at many sports. While living the life of the Big Man on Campus, young Bram was employed as a civil servant, his father’s career path. After graduation, Stoker was often promoted within the Civil Service and ended up as head of his department, then head of the district. And on the side, he wrote theater reviews, just for fun. A review of Sir Henry Irving‘s Hamlet, lead to a friendship and a job offer. In 1878, Stoker married actress Florence Anne Lemon Balcombe and they moved to London where Stoker became the manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theater. In that job, he met many luminaries of the theater, the literary world [Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Lord Tennyson], and politics [Theodore Roosevelt, Lord Churchill, Gladstone]. Meanwhile, Stoker wrote and published short stories, just for fun. In 1890, he began to write a book about a ‘Count Wampyr’ from Austria. A chance reference in the Whitby Library changed the lead character to Count Dracula from Transylvania. For seven years he worked on perfecting his novel about the ‘un-dead,’ which was published in 1897. Reviews were good and the rest is history: movies, plays, breakfast cereal [probably as deadly as a vampire bite], parodies, and Hallowe’en costumes show the extent to which Count Dracula has permeated culture world-wide. On April 20, 1912, Stoker died. Not from a silver bullet nor from a stake through his heart, but from locomotor ataxia.

Our breakfast is made from fine Irish ingredients — did Stoker yearn for these flavors when he lived in London? The dinner is very much of the country, and typical of the diet of a tenant farmer’s family.

Breakfast in Ireland:  282 calories 11 g fat 1.5 g fiber 19 g protein 26 g carbs 207.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values include the tea with milk. PB  From the soda bread to the cheese to the back bacon – this is a meal from all over Ireland.   HINT: Prepare the soda bread in advance for less breakfast hassle.

The meat is Canadian Bacon, the bread is a slice from the large loaf, and the cheese is Irish Cheddar.

1 oz Irish back bacon or ‘Canadian bacon’ @ 33 calories 1 oz Irish Soda Bread** 1 egg, fried or hard-boiled 1½ oz apple ½ oz Cashel Blue or Irish Cheddar   Optional: hot Irish Breakfast Tea, served with 3-4 Tbsp milk [pour the milk into the teacup, then add the hot tea]

**Makes 12 individual Soda Breads or 1 large loafPreheat oven to 400F. Buttered cookie sheet.
1 cup white flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt 1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter
Cut the ingredients together, using two knives or a pastry blender.
Purists would do it with their fingers.
Non-purists might do this in a food processor.
½ – 1 cup raisins or currants
1 Tbsp caraway seed
Stir these into the dry mixture.
¾ cup buttermilk or soured milk – all of milk may not be needed, or it might need moreAdd milk bit by bit, stiring with a fork, until the dough is moistened and forms a ball.
For individual biscuitsRoll or pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 2” or 3” round cutter. Use a knife to mark an ‘X’ on the top of each.
For one large loafGather the dough into a single ball, and flatten slightly. Use a knife to incise an ‘X’ on the top.
Bake at 400F 10-15 mins or 20 mins for large loaf

Cook the bacon until done to your liking. Cook the egg to your preference. Slice the Soda Bread and plate everything. Pour the tea and sip your way up to the Top o’ the Morning.

Forager’s Soup: 271 calories 17 g fat 6 g fiber 13 g protein 29 g carbs 250 mg Calcium   PB GF  Here is an Irish soup made with summer greens. Did you say ‘weeds’? A weed is a plant in the wrong place. The cook-pot is the right place, where ‘wild greens’ are put to splendid use. The recipe is one of Darina Allen’s from Reclaiming Ireland’s Culinary Heritage, One Roast Lamb Or Sponge Cake At A TimeHINT: The recipe makes 3 cups, enough for 3 servings.

2 tsp butter ½ c onion ½ potato = 4 oz
salt + pepper
Melt butter in pot over medium-high. When it foams, add vegetables, and stir to coat. Season. Turn down to very low, put parchment paper atop vegetables, to trap steam. Put on lid and cook gently 10 mins, until vegetables are soft but not brown.
1 c chicken stock ½ c + 1/3 c whole milkHeat stock and dairy in a saucepan to simmering. Remove parchment and add hot liquid. Simmer 5-10 mins to cook vegetables fully.
4 oz by weight = 2 c. wild greens: dandelion; garlic mustard; sorrel; chives
¼ c ricotta
Add greens + simmer uncovered 2-3 mins until greens are just cooked through (do not cover pot or overcook, or else bright green color will be lost.)  Add ricotta. Purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
1 oz chorizo/ bacon per personSlice chorizo and cook on low in a skillet until fat is rendered and meat is crisp, 5-10 mins. Drain on paper towels. 
Edible flowers 2 Finn Crisp per servingAt serving time, warm soup over medium-low heat, uncovered. Scatter chorizo/bacon bits on each bowl, and garnish with flowers.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday …………………………… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
feta cheesewatermelon
melonbrown rice
moussaka sauce: ground lamb, eggplant, marinara sauce, onionMediterranean Vegetables with chickpeas
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday:………………………….. single portion for Thursday:

Hake, 4 ounces + onion3 oz roast lamb + mint or cilantro
garlic + sugar + red winecanned white beans
whole tomatoes, canned‘English’ peas [not dried peas]
Moroccan seasoning
Sparkling water Mint tea or Sparkling water

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