Week 1: What we ate

On Blame
We look everywhere else
But at us
Pointing fingers
At her
Him, they and them
So it was
One sunny afternoon in London
Sitting in a boardroom full of women
Listening to stories of progress
And how to get ahead
Nested citrus
When suddenly a phone goes off
Starts ringing
Rather low tones with a catchy tune
Slowly my eyes look round the room
Meeting one pair of eyes
After another
No one flinches
Looks like its them
And still the phone keeps ringing
I do a full round
A complete 360
And see no one reach hastily for a phone
Lemon- centre stage
Suddenly it stops
I look at me
And a distant memory is dredged up
One in which my phone has the same tune
The very same one
which rang a mere minute ago
Oh my word
It was me
And I thank God I’m black
For my cheeks were alight with ‘shock’
And a tad bit of shame
A piece of the pictire
For it was my phone that rang
My phone that broke the silence in that room
That day
My phone that made me accuse all
But me
It was my phone
That rang
That day
My phone
My own

We’ve successfully made it through week 1 – though my husband says ‘Once we’re done with this first 2 weeks, I never want to eat Butternut squash again’. But he doesn’t really mean it, does he? What he explained later on was he doesn’t like it on its own – just cooked. He likes it in the gnocchi and the soup but a grilled wedge of roasted butternut squash, with all its stringy bits is not something he finds pleasant. The same reason he hates Mangoes.

Overall, its been a superb week.

Here’s the executive summary:

Food of the week: Butternut Squash, for sure. I won’t say more than I’ve said already :-).

Highlights: Sunday’s lunch of BNS gnocchi – pan-fried gnocchi made and held together with chestnut flour and almond meal. H-E-A-V-E-N-L-Y; Sunday’s dinner and Friday’s dinner were also superb.

Lowlights: Monday’s Dinner. My attempt to make pancakes from almonds yielded almond pancakes which were wrong, both in texture and taste


1) I hate parsley tea – the parsley tea I’d made that morning in the name of detox made me feel sick with its smell. After a cup or two, I gave up the foulness and drank water. IMG_3477Look, if anyone offers you fresh mint tea and parsley tea – go for the former will you. And I’m really enjoying the mint flourishing in my garden. Every other day, I pluck a handful and infuse in hot water, a touch of honey later, we’re in business.

Flowering melisseThat’s been a blessing this week, reminding me to ensure the simple pleasures of life! Though for a long time, I thought the green and yellow leaves were those of Lemon Melisse, till my friend who gave me the plant 2 years ago said it was mint, and brought me some more Melisse plants. You don’t recognizable it as mint straight away – it has a different flavour that is lighter and somewhat lemony but it has grown on me.

Melisse bushes

Isn’t it beautiful?

Lemon melisse, closeup
2) How strong is strong when food is involved – If you noticed Thursday’s  breakfast and lunch *s and sesame seed bars, this is why. The Maker’s diet calls for a day of partial fast. Poof. In my case. So off I went to work on Thursday morning. One hour into my day, tummy rumbling and concentration never found, not to mention lost, I knew I couldn’t go on.Anyway, continuing my story – the tea was rubbish and after dumping it all out, I went to our office shop and purchased some sesame seed bars and then I rang my husband. We are after all in this together. I started with saying how woozy and faint I felt, a feeling he’d encountered on day 1 (much to my laughter and teasing!). Anyhow, I confessed that I had to eat something. That was the first of 3 packs that day. Eaten as slowly as I could. Hmmm. I learnt the lesson that strong as I am, I’m not at all able to fast and work. I’ve said that I’ll save my partial fasts for the weekends!

Strawberries with melisse
3) How much salt do you need in a fried egg? – Waiter, there’s too much salt in my frittata. And its all my fault. I don’t know why/how I get it wrong but sometimes my eggs just become too salty, all by themselves. When I put a pinch, just before I fry, it seems too small and not enough. Till it fries and then I’m kicking myself in the butt. I keep saying I’ll write down and experiment but  I also keep forgetting. It might be easier if I just ask you…..or Google but I’ll ask you first – How much salt do you put in per egg?

And this is the detailed menu:

Week 1
Vegetable frittata, with courgettes, tomatoes, mozzarella
Butternut squash gnocchi with Baked Tilapia fillets and chili tomato sauce
Carrot & Feta salad
Lamb chops & almond tapenade, adapted from smitten kitchen
Butternut squash + coconut milk soup
Green Salad
Almond pancakes, mixed berries and Chevré (soft goat’s cheese)
Butternut squash + coconut milk soup
Tomato salad
Baked paprika stuffed with lentil bolognaise and topped with feta and goat’s cheese
Gratin of berries with Honey Zabaglione and flaked almonds
Lentil and chicken salad
Roast chicken with roast parsnips, roast carrots and butternut squash puree
Sesame seed bars*
Sesame seed bars*
Baked seabass with roasted aubergines, butternut squash puree and steamed green bean and carrots
Chilled Cherry soup
Green Salad
Fennel puree with baked seabass and tilapia fillets and steamed carrots
Full ‘Diet’ Breakfast (Not English): BN squash hash browns (thanks Chris of Mele Cotte), Turkey (breast) bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms
Hot Harissa soup with oven-dried tomatoes
BBQ Turkey chops with sage tapenade and Butternut wedges

So far so good. Thank you for stopping by.

I promise that in the future, I will repeat some of the recipes, with full photo journeys to accompany. Hand on heart.

Enjoy the week….oh, did I mention the cake I made? From BNSquash? No I didn’t. Well, I managed to create something edible, using chestnut flour and almond meal to bind. It wasn’t bad considering it also had goat’s yogurt and I had to judge the batter by sight. A friend of mine had it and LOVED it – it was moist and dense compared to a regular cake but it was much lighter than I expected! I guess with a glass of iced coffee, it could have been better. Oh well, that’s coming soon…in food school! Stay tuned.

Still no camera. We will survive. These photos are from the archives, for once, my mad photo-taking has come to the rescue!

I still love foodNext week’s focus: Fennel and Kumquats. Expect a recipe for making flavoured oils and I still need to share my best dining experience in Barbados. All that this week. Love!

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Week 1: What we ate – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. Ozoz, you’re amazing and so inspiring! 🙂 I adore fresh mint tea but I’ve never seen that beautiful variety you have!! I love those leaves. 🙂 You’re doing such a good job eating healthy and I’m hugely proud of you. You inspire me so much. 🙂 Shortly I will go for my daily walk. 🙂

  2. You are a treasure, I always have so much fun reading your posts as I can picture myself in the same situation and I feel like a fly on the wall. Your list of menu items is incredible. Week one is down, the end is in sight!

    • Not a strawberriy martini at all. I’d rather eat my alcohol than drink it to be honest. Anyway, it is chopped strawberries with mint (which I called melisse for over a year). The glass was dipped in water and then in sugar!

  3. Oz, what are you doing? I must be missing something. Are you trying to focus on one vegtable per week? Did you suddenly receive 20lbs of butternut squashes? Help me undrstand. 🙂

    • No Velva, more like I bought 20lbs of BNS. Almost. Like I said, the husband’s had it with BNS so its laying low….we absolutely loved it most in the gnocchi so that’s worth a repeat!

  4. I am so impressed that you have so many photos in your archive. I wish I had enough foresight to photograph things that I could use later. The citrus fruits are so pretty and I love the stripes on that leaf

    • Oh Megan, I don’t know. I’m in at just under 20,000 photos on my Flickr account as I am OCD when I have my camera! I am glad I have a few weeks free of the irrational desire to photograph every ant that crawls past me in this summer’s heat

  5. I was put on a diet. I think blogging is definitely not good for your health (LOL) as I have gained since I started a few months back and my doctor has put me on a diet due to high cholesterol. Also, I have no self control when it comes to dieting. Loved your menu.

    • Oh Norma, I know what you mean. I don;t think any Dutch dr would put you on a diet so we’ve had to do it ourselves 🙂

  6. Wow, you have such an interesting array of food and I’m so impressed by how many ways you managed to serve the BNS (I just roast it and make soup, pretty boring). Cherry soup for brekky? Yes please, sounds great. Looking forward to next week 🙂 All the best.

    • The cherry soup was interesting – it had coriander seeds in it and mint! I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped as I used goat’s milk which is quite musky. I should try it again with regular milk!

  7. What a week,..;still so much food you eat!! I think I can’t eat that many food , 3x/day!!

    That’s quite a fab & tasty menu, I say though!!

    • Really, do you think it is too much? I try to control the portion sizes and I think we eat generally ok. Don’t you eat 3ce a day? Oh well….thanks anyway

  8. Stumbled onto your blog today from More Than Burnt Toast. Isn’t it horrible when it’s your phone? I really enjoyed your poem & photography… beautifully put together. I’m a new follower & look forward to reading more of your food experiences 🙂

  9. My god, I would be going berserk without my camera by now!!!

    That’s a fabulous menu, I need to climb back on that healthy eating wagon myself.

    Here’s a great motivating second week! xxxx

  10. Soldier on, Ozoz! =) If in doubt, throw in only a smidgen of salt and allow people to season it for themselves afterwards if necessary. Part of what throws off salting stuff is if there’s other stuff in it or alongside – salty things like bacon, cheese, sausages, etc.

  11. I so enjoy these photographs and your lovely words. Congrats on finishing week 1. What a wonderful collection of healthy meals!

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