The hairy dieters
Dave Myers and Si King are best known as the cuddly TV chefs with large bikes and even larger appetites. But, as their new cookbook reveals, it's possible to lose weight without giving up pies
Food isn’t just fuel for us – it’s our life. We spend most of every day thinking about food, cooking and coming up with recipe ideas, not to mention eating! Great tasting food is our passion and we’re not about to give that up.
But we have to admit that we’ve overdone it a bit. Years of enjoying endless gorgeous meals have taken their toll and we’ve piled on the pounds. Like many middle-aged men – and ladies – we found that we’d got too hefty and our health was suffering. It was time to face facts and take a good hard look at ourselves so we took a deep breath and got on the scales.
Ouch! It was a long time since we’d weighed anything except ingredients and it was a shock. We were both a couple of stone overweight and over 40 per cent of our body mass was fat. It was time to diet.
Now we have had to be honest, we’re never going to be Skinny Minnies and we don’t want to be. It’s just not us. But we’ve made the effort to lose weight to stay healthy and enjoy life to the full. We want to be walking up hills and down dales without getting out of breath, and to be riding out big bikes when we’re 70, so we need to keep mobile and trim. And that means every now and again watching what we eat and reining it in a bit.
OK, we’re not going to diet forever – we’re still greedy and we’ll always love our pies and curries – but our weigh-in was a wake-up call to act before we got dangerously big. Losing weight has been quite a journey for us but we’ve done it and were proud of ourselves. Now we know we can drop the pounds when we need to and this will help us keep a check on things in the future. If we can do it so can you.
SO THIS IS WHAT WE DID...
We didn’t want to sacrifice the pleasure of cooking and feel deprived or hungry so we knew we had to come up with meals that we would enjoy making and eating if we were to stick with the diet. With the advice of healthy eating experts, we discovered that by making small changes we could still enjoy big flavours and the food we loved. And it’s true. We’ve shed weight and we feel the better for it. Our blood pressure and cholesterol levels are down, we have more energy and we look HOT – but not as sweaty as we used to! And we’ve done all this while still eating all our favourite, great-tasting dishes.
The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfeld, £14.99).
EGG, BACON AND ASPARAGUS FLAN
- 1 bunch of young asparagus, about 10 spears, trimmed
- 5 rashers of dry-cure smoked back bacon
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 25g cornflour
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 25g extra-mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling the tin
- 4 sheets of filo pastry, each about 32 x 38cm
Slice the asparagus into 5cm lengths. Cook in boiling water for 1 minute until just tender. Drain and rinse under running water, then pat dry. Trim any fat off the bacon and cut to 1cm strips. Return the pan to a low heat, add the oil and gently fry the onion and bacon until lightly browned. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat.
Lightly oil a 20cm loose-based fluted flan tin. Place a sheet of filo pastry in the flan tin, pressing it firmly against the base and sides. Brush the pastry with a little oil then cover with a second pastry sheet at a right angle to the first. Repeat with a third and fourth sheet. Roll and crumple the overhanging pastry back on to the rim of the tin. Place the tin on the heated baking tray.
Put the cornflour in a non-stick saucepan and stir in 50ml of the milk to make a thin paste. Pour over 200ml of the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute over a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Season, then remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the milk. Stir in the beaten eggs. Scatter half of the asparagus, bacon and onion mixture over the base of the pastry case and pour the white sauce on top. Scatter the remaining asparagus and bacon mixture on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake on the preheated baking tray for 25-30 minutes.
ROAST PORK WITH APPLE GRAVY
- 1.25kg loin of pork with deeply scored rind
- 10g fresh sage leaves
- 15g flat-leaf parsley
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the apple gravy:
- 200ml cloudy apple juice
- 125ml cold water
- 2 tsp cornflour
- freshly ground black pepper
Slide a large sharp knife under the pork rind and fat, then lift it off completely. Set it to one side. Cut a hole about 4cm wide through the centre of the loin. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5.
Finely chop the sage and parsley leaves and put them in a bowl. Add the lemon zest, garlic, salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Press some of this herby mix into the hole in the pork and the rest over the surface. Cover the meat with the pork rind and tie the joint at 2cm intervals with kitchen string. Place in a small sturdy roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes per 500g, plus 20 minutes. When the pork is ready, rest it on a warmed board ready to carve.
Spoon off and discard the fat from the roasting tin by tilting the juices into one corner. Put the roasting tin on the hob over a medium heat and add the apple juice and 50ml of the cold water. Stir well and simmer. Carefully strain the gravy through a sieve. Mix the cornfl our and the remaining cold water, add to the gravy and return it to the heat until it thickens. Pour into a jug to serve with the pork.
Daily tip from the lady archive
“THERE is great satisfaction to be had in properly ironed garments that look as if they have just come out of the shop window.”The Lady. You Can’t Iron? 19th February, 1953