It's been about twelve weeks now since I started concentrating seriously on eating healthily and exercising regularly. If we knock out the two-and-a-half week break I had over my birthday whilst I was holidaying in Perth (there's no way I was going to give up Little Creature's chilli mussels or the wines of the Margaret River!) then we're talking about nine whole weeks of allowing myself only one treat meal a week. For someone that was used to having three or four... or five... such treat meals a week, this was a radical change in food perspective!
As such, I find myself fantasizing, reasonably often, about the foods that I would love to shove into my mouth by the truckload and stuff myself stupid on until I resemble a giant elephant that has swallowed the world's biggest blimp whole. Some of them I think about a lot, others are old staples in my old, unhealthy diet, that I find myself longing for every now and then. Rather than making me stare longingly into the fridge for hours on end, I actually find thinking about these treats quite cathartic. So, I did what any... Ok, I did something stereotypically me... I made a list!
The top ten foods I think about... a lot:
1. Hot jam donuts covered in sweet, sweet sugar. The jam piping hot so that you have to blow furiously on it to get it below red-hot-magma levels. The donut steaming so that you can't even think about picking it up in your hands. Nope, this is a bowl and spoon job all the way.
2. 10kg of hot, crunchy, thick cut chips. But that's not all. Cover them in around 20kg of chicken salt, and then give me two big bowls - one filled with smokey BBQ sauce and the other with delightfully creamy mayonnaise, and I shall take my 10kg of chips showered in 20kg of chicken salt and dip each one of them in both bowls several times!
3. Lemon and prosciutto pasta. This may not sound like a real treat meal, as it's reasonably healthy, but believe me, this dish is to die for. Originally made for me by my dear friend Donna, this combination of prosciutto, tagliatelle, rocket, olive oil, and lemon juice (plus other ingredients if we feel like it) is a dream sequence for your taste buds.
4. Milk chocolate rocky road from the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Their chocolate is oh so creamy, and with fluffy marshmallows, nuts, and jubes all rivaling for a place in your mouth, their rocky road is just divine.
5. Approximately one ton of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I first discovered this taste sensation in Plymouth, England, at the movies, where I treated myself to a scoop of cherry garcia with a scoop of chocolate fudge brownie. This was closely followed by my friend Mara and I devouring a whole tub of phish food (sans bowls - just spoons in the tub!) on my return to London. Oh my stars you have never had ice cream this good!
6. Hot, hot, hot, just out of the oven bread rolls, in a variety of delicious gourmet flavours (olive and sea salt, walnut sourdough - you get the picture), ripped apart with your hands then thickly smeared with creamy, melty butter. Sprinkle a few salt crystals on top and you will just about swoon from the pleasure of it.
7. Piping hot, chunky apple pie cooked with lashings of cinnamon and cloves in sweet pastry, served with a giant dollop of too-thick-to-fall-off-your-spoon cream. Team this with a delicious dessert wine and you have one of the best reasons to unbutton your pants at the table.
8. Plain and simple, crepes with lemon and sugar. My most enduring favourite meal of all time.
9. A giant cheese platter including brie, stuffed with rosemary sprigs and baked in it's wooden wheel, strong blue cheese, goats cheese rolled in ash, quince paste, lavosh, crusty white bread, and a selection of pates from Maggie Beer.
10. Fried chicken! When I was in London, just ten minutes walk from my front door, was the best fried chicken shop I have ever come across. Their spicy fried drumsticks were like a party in my mouth (and the accompanying chips were scoffed down in a fashion closely resembling item #2 on my list) and it wasn't unheard of for me to have a meal of fried chicken two or three days in a row! I suspect that it was around this time that my jeans started to fit quite snugly...