As you look forward into another new year full of promise, you want your life to be simpler, less pressured and healthier. You are thinking about joining (or rejoining) the gym. You have resolved to eat healthier, to exercise more and to get up earlier in the day. It’s time you looked at your alcohol consumption too. Not that it is too high. It’s just average amongst the people (drunks) you know. If you are a smoker, you are going to give up the evil weed as soon as you go to bed in the early hours of January 1st. You know you are going to do all these things because it’s a new year approaching and a time for renewal. A time for hope. A time to make a list of promises to yourself…
I have some good news and some bad news. What do you want first? People usually ask for the bad news first so here goes. I’ve made a list of only 5 things to keep it simple for you:
- You will lose weight in late January / early February. After that, well, you know about after that.
- You may will join or rejoin the gym but you will give up by end February.
- You may make some inroads into your alcohol intake but, by the time the first barbecue of the summer comes around, you will be thinking “Chardonnay or Pinot Gris?” rather than “Still or Sparkling?”
- If you are unlucky enough to be a smoker now, you will probably be a smoker then. It’s just so difficult…
- The getting up earlier will never happen. You think about it now on the days you lie late in bed. Think about it.
Pretty depressing stuff for starting into the new year. However, there is some great news. I have a really tasty, healthy, cheap and easy recipe for you. Resolve to try it and your new year will get off to an excellent start. This is my recipe for Fresh Pasta with Monkfish Cheeks in Rich Tomato Sauce.
Here’s what you will need:
- Half a kilo of fresh monkfish cheeks. Ask your fishmonger. They are really tasty.
- A glass of nice red wine (the wine you are giving up for the new year)
- A tin of tomatoes
- A small onion
- A clove of garlic
- Smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to season
- An egg and 100 grammes of flour
- Some olive oil
- Additional flour for dusting the monkfish
As part of your new simpler life, you can follow these simple instructions:
- Make some fettuccine using the egg, 100g of flour and a small amount of olive oil.
- Chop the garlic and onion and soften in the pan. Remove and reserve.
- Trim the membrane and yucky bits from the monkfish cheeks.
- Dust them in seasoned flour and fry in the remaining garlicy and oniony olive oil.
- When they look nearly cooked, add the tin of tomatoes, some thyme, a teaspoon of paprika and the glass of wine. Add back the onion and garlic.
- Chop the tomatoes with the wooden spoon, removing any tough bits. Do this rather than using a tin of chopped tomatoes. There are two good reasons. The whole tomatoes carry far more flavour and you need all the exercise you can get.
- Time the completion of the pasta with the thickening of the sauce. Put the pasta into a bowl and serve the monkfish over it. Add a sprig of thyme to make the photo look half-decent.
While you sit back having enjoyed this excellent meal, you can resolve to do something for a ‘new you’ in the new year.
First, don’t fool yourself. If you want to make some real changes, do them one at a time. Decide on what you are going to do. Decide on a time frame. Analyse the real cost to you. Decide on your rewards for achieving your goal. Do it. Be proud of it. Then tackle the second thing on the list.Just don’t try to give up smoking, drinking, cursing and womanising (or manising) all at once. Certainly not while you are trying to lose weight, get fit and get up earlier every morning. Do ’em one at a time. I know it can be done. I’ve done some of them.
One of my new year resolutions is to get better photos of the plated dishes. I really can do better… Happy New Year and thanks for reading.