My sincere apologies for lack of posts here at Food and Wine Portugal. Being on Weightwatchers is not very conducive to blogging about food and wine – unless, of course, you want reviews of lettuce and rocket.
Anyway, for now at least, we have paused our weight-watching, having lost between 7lbs and 9lbs, depending on the mood of the scales when I look. This is a pleasing result and the fact that it works reassures me that I can re-lose whatever I gain back over the Christmas festivities.
I must confess that we rather enjoyed our three weeks of slimming, even though it meant the majority of our favourite Portuguese dishes were off limits (lord only knows how many weightwatchers points make up an Arroz de Pato or Balalhau a Bras.)
We were, however, able to enjoy the bounty of fruit and veg available in the local markets, with highlights including giant local Piel de Sapo melons, which at Weightwatchers portion levels last over a week, and super-sweet pineapples from the Azores (very expensive but when you are not allowed to buy any junk food, why not?)
We celebrated our return to real eating with a Friday night barbecue of steak, marinated turkey legs and ribs, along with some hard-to-find-in –Portugal fresh corn on the cob. It turned out our capacity for food had reduced, as this blow-out meat feast ended up also providing a large barbecue salad the following day, and teriyaki beef with the left over steak.
Nearly a week on, I seem to be managing to keep the weight off, and it seems a lot of the lessons learned from Weight Watchers have stuck with us. Having spent decades really disliking the taste of water, I can now often be spotted with a bottle of agua in hand, and this, together with an occasional Coke or Fanta Zero has replaced my previous consumption of litres and litres of sugary juice drinks.
I also seem to have learned portion control – eating until I am satisfied, rather than when the plate is empty – I hope to carry on these healthier habits , although I am definitely having a week off at Christmas.
On the subject of Christmas, I am one of those people who starts thinking about it in October. I make no apology for this as food-fans have to get started around now with cakes, puddings and chutneys. We are particularly looking forward to it this year as we will have a lot of family around here in Portugal.
My other Christmas challenge will be the purchase, preparation and (hopefully) enjoyment of our first home-cooked bacalhau (dried salted cod.) We have now been in Portugal for more than a year and I can put off this rite of passage no longer (and I have made a commitment to a reader of my blogs that I will give it a try!) I will publish a detailed account of our attempts to prepare and cook it, along with some pictures. So stay tuned