Slow Day: Eastern Mediterranean Sampler

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The meal at Troy

When we visit Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, we enjoy dining at Troy. We usually order the Sampler Platter, along with local beer and cidre. Since dining there is not an option during these Covid Times, I decided to try my hand at preparing such a meal. Happily, the elements were at hand — in the freezer or in the ‘fridge or made from fresh ingredients.

From the left, going clockwise around the platter: Lamb Gozleme; turkey breast; beet hummus**; oil-cured olives; tomatoes; feta + green olives; red pepper spread; dried figs. The flat bread in the middle is the same as in the Gozleme, but un-stuffed and griddle fried. A delightful meal for two, served with memories of visits to the orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

**HUMMUS: 1 Tbsp = 27 calories 1.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.7 g protein 3 g carbs 0.7 mg Calcium   PB GF  makes 2 cups Recipe from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen . 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed 4 cloves garlic 1-½ tsp salt 4 tsp lemon juice 5 T tahini pepper + cayenne ¼ c chopped scallions

Put everything in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasonings. Freezes well. Variation: Add a few slices of cooked beet to obtain an amazing pink color.

Frederick Douglass

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. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

On September 3, 1838, Frederick Bailey escaped to freedom. He had been born to an enslaved woman in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. His mother was separated from him in childhood and he was raised by his enslaved grandmother and free grandfather. As an enslaved child, he was sold, traded, and loaned to various families: one taught him to read, one beat him frequently. Eventually he met a free Black woman, Anna Murray, who helped him to escape. He boarded a train in the guise of a free sailor, traveled through two pro-slavery states, took a ferry boat up river to Philadelphia, and after 24-hours of travel, ended up in New York City. Free. Frederick and Anna married soon after, choosing ‘Douglass’ as their surname. If he hadn’t had enough excitement for one life, Douglass became a pastor, a publisher, a public speaker, a women’s rights advocate, an abolitionist, a social reformer, and statesman. Frederick Douglass was the most photographed person in the 1800s and a tireless worker for the rights of ALL people. He believed that “Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” Amen to that.

In trying to decide what recipes to feature today, I vetoed the idea of ‘slave food’ like hoe cakes and salt cod, in favor of the foods of the sort eaten by free, middle-class, educated people of Douglass’ time: watercress would have been served in nice restaurants [certainly in England where he toured and lectured], while ham with oysters is a popular dish of the Chesapeake Bay area from which he escaped.

Watercress ScrOmelette: 150 calories 8 g fat 0.6 g fiber 10.7 g protein 5.4 g carbs 74 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Having Watercress Sauce in the freezer in handy cubes sure makes this meal a snap. And is it good!

1 ½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid to store in the ‘fridge for next week.  ½ Tbsp Watercress Sauce, well drained    ½ Tbsp ricotta, drained  HINT: I set them both out to drain through a fine sieve the night before to make sure there was no extra liquid. 1/8 tsp dry mustard 1.5 oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Combine the drained watercress, drained cheese, and mustard. Whisk the eggs and cook in a hot saute pan spritzed with olive oil or non-stick spray. As the eggs begin to set, spread the cress/mustard/cheese on top. Cook the way you like them and plate with the peaches. Pour the beverages and enjoy the summer taste of watercress all year long. 

Ham & Oyster Pie: 256 calories 4.6 g fat 3 g fiber 20.7 g protein 25.5 g carbs 125 mg Calcium  PB GF — if using GF bread   This dish was popular in the Colonial American South at Christmastime. I first enjoyed it in the Fox Tavern  at the Hancock Inn. As long as oysters are available, one can have it anytime. HINT: This recipe serves 2 [two].

This dish will serve two diners.

3 oz [2/3 cup] roast ham in ½” dice 1 cup oysters with their liquid, about 19 ½ cup onions, chopped ¼ cup milk 2 Tbsp white wine 2 tsp potato starch ½ cup peas, frozen 4 small stars cut from a 70-calorie slice of whole-grain bread, 0.55 oz bread

Drain oysters and reserve their liquid. Combine onion and oyster liquid in a small pan. Simmer, covered, until onions are transluscent. Stir wine, milk, and potato starch into the liquid until it is smooth. Add oysters and ham. Stir and heat over low until sauce has thickened. Add peas, stir, and turn into a two-cup casserole. Bake uncovered at 400 F. for 15 minutes while you lightly toast the stars. Before serving, nestle the stars into the bubbling sauce.

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

1 two-oz eggtofu + sugar
cepe or porcini mushroomsstrawberries
tomato + prosciuttobanana
Parmesan + peachplain fat-free yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

3%-fat ham, sliced thinlytwo 2-oz eggs + paprika + pickled beets
skimmed milk + 4 eggsparmesan cheese + Swiss chard
white whole wheat flourgarlic powder + paprika
allspice + thyme + green beansolive oil optional: sourdough bread
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Chicken Corn Soup Supper

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. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. 

Every August, small country churches in my family’s area of South-Central Pennsylvania used to put up the signs: Chicken Corn Soup Supper. Organized and run by the ladies of the church [with some help from the men-folk], these can be at once a social event, a cherished link to the agrarian culture, and a major fund-raiser. In August, the sweet corn is ripe and half of the laying flock is 2-years old which means that the stars are aligned for Chicken Corn Soup. The best broth is from older chickens [fowls], so they would be dispatched early in the morning and stewed for hours. The chickens’ meat, off the bones and shredded, would be added to the broth, along with the herbs and onions they were cooked with. Kernels from sweet corn [as opposed to the taller, coarser field corn], and chunks of potatoes would be be added. One hot August evening many years ago, Dear Husband and I attended one of these dinners at an old stone chapel near Newville, Pa. Tressle tables and benches were set up the lawn, covered with butcher paper. You squeezed in among the other diners and partook of the delights of the table: a big bowl of hot soup, dinner rolls fresh from the oven, butter, iced tea, and cake or pie for dessert. The air was conditioned by the breeze in the Black Locust trees and the entertainment was the hum of cicadas. All around, a sense of contentment as the rhythm of the seasons was observed.

Here is my attempt at the tastiest soup of August, and a breakfast that a busy farm wife could assemble in minutes, from her kitchen garden, while she stewed the fowl and let the bread rise.

Allium Bake: 136 calories 6.6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 108 mg Calcium   PB GF  The genus Allium contains all the onions and their relatives. This bake contains three of them along with two cheeses for even more flavor and goodness.

One 2-oz egg ½ oz sliced leek, green +/or white parts ½ oz minced onion 1 Tbsp minced chives 1 Tbsp cottage cheese 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 2 oz peach Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water    Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz an oven-proof ramekin [for 2 people, Dear Husband likes to use a 6×4” oval casserole] with non-stick spray and set the oven for 350 degrees F. Slice/chop the leeks and onions. Spray a skillet/saute pan with non-stick spray and cook the alliums until they are limp. Put them, along with the chives and any seasonings you like, in the prepared oven-safe dish. Whisk the egg with the two cheeses and pour over the alliums. Bake for 12 minutes or until done as you like it. Plate with the peach, pour your beverage of choice, and savor a flavorful day.

Chicken Corn Soup:  159 calories 4 g fat 2 g fiber 12 g protein 20 g carbs 21.6 mg Calcium NB: the above food values do not include the optional bread   PB GF – if using GF bread or eliminating it.

1-½ cups corn cut from the cob [about 3 ears] 1-½ cups potato, cut in ½ inch cubes 3 cups rich chicken broth ½ cup water from cooking the corn and potato ½ cup raw chicken meat, cut in small pieces many sprigs thyme + 1-2 sage leaves one ½-inch slice onion salt & pepper to taste   per serving:  ½ hard-boiled egg   Optional: 1 slice [1 oz] sourdough bread [add 100 calories]

Pour the chicken broth into a sauce pan, adding the onion and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until it cooks down to 2-½ cups. Let stand off heat. Put the corn in a skillet with water half-way up the sides of the ears. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes. Remove the corn and add the potato cubes to the water. Cook the potato for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove the potato from the water and save the cooking water. Chop the chicken and put it in the hot chicken stock to cook off the heat. Cut the kernals off the corn cobs and measure the volume. Remove the thyme sprigs and the onion from the stock, and chop the onion. Put the corn and potato into the stock, along with the chopped onion and any thyme leaves you can remove from the boiled sprigs. Add ½ cup of the corn/potato water to the soup. Gently heat the soup until the chicken is cooked. Taste for seasonings. One portion = 1 cup. Top each portion of soup with chopped hard-boiled egg and a bit of parsley. If you wish, serve with a slice of sourdough bread. Freeze the remainder. This is truly the taste of Summer. Cue the cicadas.

Slow Days: Summer Desserts

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As to how we eat, some examples follow.

In the Summer, we want our desserts to be light and cooling. Hot pie is out, ice cream is in. I remember when fruited Jello was acceptable. And then chiffon pie was in vogue. Ugh. Both highly processed. A waste of calories, in my opinion. Fruit is always the answer: fresh, real, delicious, versatile, good for you. I don’t usually give nutritional information on a Slow Day Post, because with the Fast Diet you need ‘diet’ only 2 days each week. But these desserts are SO good that the calorie counts prove that one can eat well without going hog wild on calories. Hope you like these!

‘Blue Strawberries’: In Portsmouth, NH, in the 70s/80s, James Haller and friends ran the Blue Strawbery Restaurant. They served a prix-fixe menu with only one dessert: their signature strawberries. Awfully simple to prepare and a delight to eat.

This plate will serve two diners.

5 oz medium-sized strawberries 2 Tbsp low fat French Vanilla yogurt 2 Tbsp brown sugar

On individual serving plate, place the strawberries, spoon out the yogurt in a separate spot, and place the sugar in its own space. Grasp a strawberry by the stem, dip into the yogurt, dip into the sugar. Eat. Repeat

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: each: 34 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 0.5 g protein 3.6 g carbs 13 mg Calcium PB GF These are so easy to make that I can’t imagine buying a kit at the supermarket. Is this ‘gilding the lily’? Yes! And they are SO good. 

6 fresh strawberries [½-3/4 oz each] with leaves and stems attached 3 oz dark [60-70%] or bitter-sweet chocolate [chocolate chips/bar chocolate/melting wafers] — you will end up using less than 1 oz and will have some left over

Put the chocolate in a wide-mouthed jar or glass bowl and place it in a small pan. Add water to the pan to about half-way up the vessel with the chololate. Gently heat the water so that the chocolate melts. Do not let the heating water bubble, lest water drops end up in the chocolate. Stir the chocolate to make sure it is all melted. Put the berries on a piece of waxed paper [or a silicon mat] on a small tray that will fit in the ‘fridge. The berries must be perfectly dry – no water drops, lest the chocolate ‘seize up.’ Pick up a berry by the leaves/stem and dip into the chocolate until it is coated about 2/3 of the way up. You may have to roll it a bit to coat it. As you remove it from dipping, wipe it gently against the side of the vessel, as you would wipe excess paint from a paintbrush. Lay the coated berry on the waxed paper and continue with the other berries. Put the berries in the ‘fridge to harden and cool. Cool any excess chololate and keep in the ‘fridge for any future use.

S’More: 145 calories 4.7 g fat 0.5 g fiber 2 g protein 24.5 g carbs 22.5 mg Calcium The Girl Scouts of America tell their members that this campfire treat was invented by them. No summer is complete without the gooey-chocolatey goodness of the s’more. The name is a contraction of “I want some more.” I must say I was surprised at the low calorie count.

These are the fixings for THREE s’mores.

1 graham cracker, broken in half cross-wise along the perforations 1 marshmallow – regular size, neither mini nor monstrous 3 sections of one standard Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar

On one of the halves of the cracker, place the chocolate. Cook the marshmallow the way you like it. Put the marshmallow on the chocolate, top with the other piece of cracker. Push down on the top to squish the marshmallow so it oozes out the sides a little. Eat immediately.

Watermelon Sherbet:  54 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 1 g protein 9 g carbs 42 mg Calcium   PG GF   Such a delight for a hot Summer night! Goes together very quickly at dessert time. Serve with a simple cookie, such as chocolate biscotti. HINT: One serving = 3/4 of a cup. This is really good!

3 cups watermelon1-½ cup melon Freeze the watermelon cubes in a single layer on a piece parchment paper or foil for at least 3-4 hours.
¾ cup frz melon ½ cup plain yogurt OR lite canned coconut milk/ sweetened condensed milk/ Vanilla yogurt1/3 cup frz melon ¼ cup plain yogurtWhen ready to make, add half the watermelon to the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the yogurt/ coconut milk/ condensed milk. 
¾ cup frz melon 3 Tbsp mini choc chips1/3 cup frz melon 1.5 Tbsp mini chipsAdd the remaining watermelon and the mini chips. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Eat immediately or freeze for 2-3 hours for a firmer texture. If frozen longer, leave it out for 30 minutes before eating so it can soften up and become creamy.

Natural Selections

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. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

On August 20, 1858, Charles Darwin woke up to a day that was going to bring the world down around his ears. As a 22-year old, he had been the naturalist on the research vessel Beagle in her circumnavigation voyage. What he saw opened his eyes and mind to new possibilities about the variety of life on Earth. He became famous for his journals from the trip, since they formed an exotic travelogue for early Victorians. Very quaint. But now, after 30 years of dithering, his article was going to be published in the Journal of Proceedings of the Linnean Society. A letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, another amateur naturalist who was working on the Malay Peninsula, had shocked Darwin into action: Wallace had developed the same ideas and was going to publish them. What ideas were those? That all the species of plants, animals — all life on Earth — had achieved their characteristics slowly, over time, through a process Darwin called “Natural Selection.” He could not explain how that worked, except that it was similar to how hobbyists bred a variety of dogs and pigeons to look very different from each other. After the publication of “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection“, and the full book in 1859, the world of science was never the same.

On that August morning, Darwin probably ate a normal breakfast [unless his stress-induced digestive problems prevented it], and might have enjoyed kippers, perhaps with Yorkshire Pudding. The dinner honors Wallace, who’s name was listed as co-author on Darwin’s paper, who was probably eating food very much like Pork Pad Thai in his research area. By the way, when Fasting, a selection of natural foods [as opposed to processed foods] is always preferable.

Kippered Yorkshire Pudding:  226 calories 5 g fat 5.8 g fiber 11 protein 33.5 g carbs [26 g Complex] 102 mg Calcium  HINT: This is enough for 2 [two] servings. Nothing says Yorkshire like the iconic pudding and kippers. This is a meal to eat at home or to take on the road.

1 oz kippered herring ½ cup 1% milk ½ cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose, for lower protein and fiber] one 2-oz egg ½ tsp dry mustard + ¼ tsp salt 3 oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Soak the kippered herring in water for 30 minutes. Drain and mince. [If the herring is still quite firm, soak it longer.] Whisk the milk, flour, egg, mustard and salt until combined, but do not over-mix. Spray a 7” pie plate with cooking-spray and sprinkle in some kippers. Carefully pour in the Yorkshire Pudding batter, then sprinkle with the remaining kippers. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Cut into 4 pieces. Plate two pieces per person along with the pear. What a flavor combination!

Pork Pad Thai:  265 calories 7.3 g fat 4.7 g fiber 20 g protein 28 g carbs 94.4 mg Calcium  PB GF  This is our son’s recipe, with a few tweeks by me to make it fit our calorie requirements. HINT: This makes enough for 2 [two] servings. Share with a friend or pack it up for a later lunch or dinner.

1 oz Asian noodles [I used buckwheat soba noodles] ½ tsp oil + 2-3 Tbsp water ½ cup onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups sliced cabbage 1 cup mung bean sprouts or chopped celery 2 oz scallions [about 3], slice in 1” pieces 3 oz lean pork, cooked or raw, sliced into thin pieces about 1” square 6 oz sugar snap peas, cut in half cross-wise one 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce pinch hot pepper flakes + 1 tsp sugar

Heat a wok or large cast iron pan. Stir-fry all the vegetables in the oil and 3 Tbsp water for 3 minutes, adding more water if the vegetables ever stop sizzling in the pan. Boil the noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside.  If using raw meat, add to cooking vegetables after 2 minutes. Add the raw egg to the pan of vegetables and scramble it in.  If using cooked pork, add it now. Stir the noodles into the wok and combine with other ingredients over the heat. Mix well as you add the fish sauce, the sugar, and red pepper flakes. Pass the Sriracha for added kick.

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

1 two-oz egg + watermelon1 two-oz egg + blueberries 
4″-diameter thin ham slicewhite whole wheat flour
red bell pepperyellow cornmeal + strawberries
fresh polenta + Srirachafat-free French Vanilla yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast + cilantro100-calorie hot dog + tomato
part-skim ricotta + sugar snap peashard-boiled egg + yellow mustard
Swedish cucumber salad + Sriracha4-Bean Salad
cherry tomatoes + Finn CrispParmesan cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Slow Days: Lammas Bread

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

One of the most popular topics on which I have blogged is that of Lammas. Maybe it is a love of all things Celtic. Maybe it is a yearning for simpler times. Maybe it is a renewal of interest in growing and producing one’s own food. The festival was called Lughnasagh in Ireland; Lunastain, in Scotland; and became Lammas [Loaf Mass] after the missionaries Christianized it. As a harvest festival, it was observed on the mid-Summer cross-quarter day around August 2 — usually August 1, 2,3. At that time the cereal crops* [wheat, rye, barley, oats] were being harvested. Flour was quickly ground from the grain, baked into loaves to be savored by the entire farm family while giving thanks for a successful harvest and offering prayers for future crops. Bread, therefore, is the recipe of the day. *Note: in the UK, cereal crops are all called ‘corn.’ This is confusing to Americans, to whom ‘corn’ is Zea mays for eating on the cob or for popping. When you follow the links, keep that in mind.

Here is a non-yeasted recipe, making something like a biscuit. This is probably the “real” bread for Lammas, since it is prepared quickly. Buttermilk Bread Charm for Lammas goddessandgreenman.co.uk

3 mugs strong white flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp bicarbonate of sodaPlace the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda
500 ml of Buttermilk Pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your hand until the dough feels springy.
Sprouted seeds – these represent regenerationMix in the sprouted seeds. If it feels too sloppy, just add a little more flour.
Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Take time to focus on the bread you have created. Turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Lammas Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”
Place on a greased baking tray and pop it into a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the bread is ready, it will change colour and will sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Lammas ribbon in your choice of colour – gold, orange, yellow

Sour Dough Fruited Summer Bread: The one I’ll make this year is based on a sourdough, in keeping with all of those who are attempting that during the current lock-down. This bread is easy to make. [Original recipe from Paul Hollywood] With the addition of Summer fruits and whole wheat, it seems fit for a festival.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.
64 g bread flour 64 g white whole wheat flour 125 g active sourdough starter 3.8 g salt 65-88 ml H20 + 2 tsp honeyCombine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey to the water. Pour it in a little bit at a time and mix with your hands to make a soft dough. You may not need all the water. If you have extra water, add it to the next step.
½ cup chopped dried apricots ½ cup dried cherriesPut the fruits in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the water. Add to the dough.
Coat work surface w/ olive oil + knead the fruit into the dough on the oiled surface for 10-15 mins or until the dough is smooth + elastic and the fruit is well-incorporated.
Put in lightly-oiled bowl + cover w/ film. Rise in warm place 5 hr or overnight in a cool place
Knead dough until smooth, knocking the air out. Shape into an oval. Let rise on a well-floured towel [a couche], up-side down, in a loaf pan for 4-8 hrs or overnight in a cool place.
Bread is rising on a floured towel in a small loaf pan to help it to keep its shape.
Reserved soaking water 2 tsp honeyPut in a small pan and simmer while adding the honey. Cook down until it is syrup-y, not runny.
Put a tray of water on the bottom of the oven. Preheat to 425F Gently tip the risen dough onto parchment paper on a baking tray. With a lame or sharp knife, score the top of the bread: down the center, then 3 on each side at an angle – sort of like a fern or the veins on a leaf. When you open the oven, add more water to the tray at the bottom of the oven to produce steam. Bake 30 mins at 425. Brush loaf with fruit syrup, then reduce oven to 400 F and bake 15 mins more.
The very dark syrup made the crust a rich mahogany color. Serve with comb honey.

…not by bread…

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. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

As it is my habit to link a new post to recipes in an older post, imagine my dismay when I discovered that the ‘Not by Bread’ post [from February 2018] had disappeared into the ether! Here I have resurrected it, as best I could, for your use.

The Good Book says that “Man shall not live by bread alone.” [Matthew 4, verse 4] Most people on a diet of any sort start by cutting down on bread and some diets cut it out altogether. With the Fast Diet, entire food groups are not eliminated: on a Fast Day, they might be minimized; on a Slow Day, they are fine to eat in moderation. Here are a few ‘breads’ that I use on Fast Days as part of a meal. You will notice that I usually use ‘white whole wheat’ flour instead of just plain white. The former is higher in fiber and slightly lower in calories, which makes it a better choice for a Fast Day.

BANNOCK:  each 2” bannock = 16 calories 0.5 g fat 0.2 g fiber 0.4 g protein 2.2 g carbs 4.2 mg Calcium  Bannock is part of the diet of the Scots, the way Soda Bread is to the Irish. This recipe makes the full batch, which yields 3 cups of dry mix. The dry mix keeps well in a sealed glass jar in a cool dry place. Splendid for breakfast [ex: Bannock & Bacon] or with a soup. NB: 1-½ cup of dry mix makes 16 [sixteen] 2” bannocks 

Bannock & Bacon with applesauce = an excellent start to the day.

1 cup flour ½ cup white whole wheat flour 1 cup rolled oats, called ‘old fashioned’ in the US, as opposed to ‘instant’ 4 Tbsp butter at room temperature or cold 1.5 Tbsp sugar + pinch of salt + 1 Tbsp baking powder

To prepare the dry mix: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until well-incorporated. Measure out the amount you need into a bowl, and put the remaining dry mix into a jar for storage. To prepare the dough: Add milk a little bit at a time to the bowl of mix and stir with a fork. Add a little more milk until a stiff dough ball is formed. Roll out on a lightly-floured board until 1/3” thick. Cut out with a 2” round cutter. Gather the scraps together, reroll, and continue to cut out the rounds. Bake on a lightly-greased baking sheet at 400 F. for 10-12 minutes.

DUMPLINGeach = 70 calories 0.2 g fat 2.6 g fiber 3.0 g protein 23 g carbs 130 mg Calcium This savory dumpling is the type you cook over a stew, such as Chicken Fricasse. It comes from Fannie Farmer. HINT: makes 2, but the recipe can be easily increased.

Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings is one of our favorites.

5 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 2/3 tsp baking powder pinch salt + pinch sugar + spices or herbs 2 Tbsp/1 fl. oz milk 

Combine all the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk. The batter should be stiff but not dry. [add a little stew broth or water if needed] Bring your stew to a simmer. Spoon the batter onto the stew so that the batter is on not in the liquid: the dumpling should steam not poach. Cook uncovered 10 minutes, then cover and cook another 10 minutes.

PAN MUFFIN  each: 71 calories 2.5 g fat 0.8 g fiber 1.8 g protein 10.8 g carbs 8.5 mg Calcium These are a dandy little bread to add to a breakfast plate. You will see them in Roman Breakfast, and Cottage Breakfast with egg.

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain hot cereal mix   
1-¼ cup buttermilk/soured milk
Combine cereal and milk in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, while preparing other ingredients.  
1/3 cup butter   1/3 cup sugar 1 two ounce egg Cream the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg. 
1 cup unbleached flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Add the dry ingredients and the cereal/milk mixture. Stir until just combined. 
2 Tbsp batter for each pan muffinPortion the batter onto a hot griddle or flat-bottomed pan spritzed with non-stick spray. Cook on both sides.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING:  ¼ cup = 77 calories 0.7 g fat 0.6 g fiber 4 g protein 17 g carbs 25 mg Calcium 1/3 cup = 107 calories 1 g fat 0.8 g fiber 5 g protein 23 g carbs 35.6 mg Calcium On a Fast Day, Yorkshire Pudding and its sister, the Popover, are a delightful addition to a meal. On a Slow Day, this treat is still permissible in meals such as Toad in the Hole and Kippered Yorkshire Pudding.

Here are mini Toad in the Hole for breakfast near Christmas.

one 2-oz egg ½ cup white whole wheat flour 1/2 cup unbleached white flour ½ tsp salt ½ cup water + ½ cup fat-free milk

Mix all the ingredients together and let the batter stand at room temp for 30-60 minutes or in ‘fridge overnight. You will need ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of the batter per person. HINT: The remainder can be frozen in 1 cup or 1/3 cup batches for future meals. When it is time to use the batter, beat it with a rotary beater until it is frothy.

Slow Days: Hake with Green Sauce

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

In April, disappointed that our trip to France was canceled, we decided that if we couldn’t be in Gascony, we could eat as if we were in Gascony. After scouring our cookbooks, we chose recipes for dinner, and sometime breakfast, that would be typical of where we would have been on a particular date. Thus we “dined out” in the restaurants of our imaginations. One of the earliest meals was named Hake in Green Sauce. There is no sauce. “Green Sauce” is a centuries-old term for vegetables served on or with the protein of the meal. In Spanish, the term is ‘salsa verde,’ which we today think of as a mild-hot condiment in a jar. The recipe, called “Merluza, Salsa Verde,” is found in Anne Willan’s French Regional Cooking.

The ingredients you see pictured are enough for two people.

Hake, new potatoes [our’s were multi-colored], garlic, oil, crushed red pepper, peas and asparagus comprise the ingredients. The potatoes are simmered in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drained. The peas are cooked until just tender, then shocked in cold water and drained. Same for the asparagus. The hake is seasoned, then dredged lightly in flour. Brown the hake in an oil-coated pan until lightly brown on both sides, but not cooked through. Arrange the dish in an oven-safe dish [I used the tart pan you see in the above photo] and sprinkle with the hot pepper flakes and chopped garlic. Put the potatoes around the edges of the fish, then put the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup water into the dish, cover it, and bake at 375F/190C for 15-20 minutes, when the fish will be tender.

This is really good — I ate the whole thing!

Slow Days: Sourdough Pancakes

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

It is almost a joke now that during the Pandemic Lock-Down, people vowed that they would use the time to perfect the art of baking: specifically sourdough bread. It seemed to be the culinary equivalent of reading War and Peace — something to get around to when you had time. Early on, bread flour and yeast were GONE from supermarket shelves. New England’s flour-of-choice, King Arthur brand from Vermont, was not even available on-line. For those who have sourdough starter [don’t be a wimp — start your own starter!], be aware that there are many things to do with it, besides making bread. Recently, we made Sourdough Pancakes [click link for recipe] for Sunday Breakfast. A real treat and easy to do.

HINT: For two people, I cut the recipe in half. The night before, I combine the flours with the sugar, oil, buttermilk [substitute = soured milk], salt, and starter. This is left on the counter overnight to ripen.

The next morning, the batter is stirred. An egg and the baking soda are added in. The mixture needs to sit a few minutes while you heat the griddle, set the table, and make the coffee. By now the batter is foaming in the bowl.

This recipe resulted in 14 pancakes: enough for today’s breakfast, another meal later, and 2 for a snack with peanut butter and jelly.

Lightly butter the griddle and use a 1/4 cup measure to pour 3-4 Tablespoons of batter on the hot surface. Continue until there is no more space on the pan. When the top of each pancake starts to develop ‘eyes’ [little holes], it is time to flip them to the other side.

Served with maple syrup [our own, I’m happy to say] and sausages — what a treat! The breakfast is completed by the berry-yogurt smoothie and mocha cafe au lait which we enjoy every morning. Great start to a great day. A lot easier than making bread.

Slow Days: Bruschetta

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

“Bruschetta” … what does that word mean to you? And how do you pronounce it? The cookbook Diary of a Tuscan Chef gave us a recipe for this concoction, which we ate happily for years — a tomato relish on bread. And we called it ‘bruce-SHET-ta.’ Had we turned the cookbook page, we would have had the real story. When olives are being pressed into oil, [a late-Fall, cool-weather activity] one of the workers will toast bread over a fire, rub it with garlic, and drizzle the new oil over it so everyone can have a snack and a taste of the crop. THAT is bruschetta!

Bread, garlic, and olive oil = bruschetta

Of course, as the idea of ‘putting some food on toast’ moved around the world, something was lost in translation, including the pronunciation. When on tour in Italy, I asked the guide, a Roman, how to pronounce this culinary creation. Chuckling, he said that Americans always ask that and for the longest time he had no idea what they meant by ‘bruce-shet-ta.’ The correct way to say it? ‘bruce-KAY-ta’ The aforementioned Tuscan Chef Cesare Casella writes: “Americans seem to think bruschetta is chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil on toast. I don’t know why. For us that is crostini con pomodoro.” He concludes that there seems to be an “American craving for cubed tomatoes.”

On the right you see Cesare Casella’s ‘tomato relish’ on the bread.

When Older Son began baking, he sent us a recipe for his ‘no-knead focaccia’, which is great but makes more bread than Dear Husband and I can eat in a week. So Older Son prompted us to eat it as Bruschetta. I protested that there would be very little protein in that: just bread and tomato relish. Being wise, our son suggested additional toppings: herbed ricotta cheese, slices of chicken or turkey breast. Anchovies would be good.

So here is the evolution of a meal that is perfect in Summer or any warm evening. Perhaps we should call it ‘Crostini’ but we don’t. We’re Americans, you see.