Paul Flynn: My ‘determined woman’s curry’ works wonders

These recipes are a post-Christmas redemptive effort to lose weight. They also burst with goodness

A determined woman’s curry.

A determined woman’s curry.

 

For a grown man it might seem ridiculous, but I’m fairly obsessed with my weight. It has always been so for I was a plump little fella that got his own way most of the time, greedily feeding himself biscuits and butter. I lost it in my teens and twenties, but started to put it on again in my thirties.

It came to a head when I saw a particularly copious photo of myself in Cara magazine, an international audience, what a coup. The next day, I bought an exercise bike and noticed the weighing scales lurking in the bathroom.

It took a lot of work and newly discovered restraint, but I lost the guts of three stone over 18 months, thus heralding The Jeggings Years.

My self-confidence soared. I felt better and I started work on becoming the style icon I always knew I could be – Ireland’s Gok Wan. I lost the run of myself a bit, well a lot really. I didn’t know jeggings were a thing until the girls at the book publication meeting told me. It was time to rein myself in a bit. I like to refer to that time as Peak Paul.

Now the jeggings still hang there, forlorn, never to be worn by any sane man again. A reminder of more vainglorious times.

I still yo-yo and it disturbs me. My chins are like the rings of an oak tree, the older I get, the more I have.

These recipes are a post-Christmas redemptive effort to lose weight. Máire my wife is the determined woman the curry is named for. When she wants to lose weight, she approaches it with military precision and unwavering determination. Let’s just hope she never wants to lose a husband.  

I love beetroot with feta. It’s a classic but healthy too. You can use pre-prepared beetroot if under pressure. The soup is easy and lovely, the avocado giving richness to the young peas. The curry bursts with vegetables, goodness and satisfying Thai flavours.

WARM BEETROOT SALAD WITH SMASHED FETA, ORANGE AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

Serves four as a starter

Warm beetroot salad with feta.
Warm beetroot salad with feta.

Ingredients

4 medium sized beetroot, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 oranges, 1 squeezed, 1 segmented
50ml olive oil
200g feta cheese
1 tsp honey
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
A small pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
Lots of picked fresh dill

Method

1 Pre-heat an oven to 140 degrees Celsius, or equivalent.

2 Wash the beetroot and wrap each one in foil.

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3 Cook for 1.5 hours or until soft (test with a knife).

4 When they are cool, peel them and cut into chunks.

5 Add the orange juice to a pan and whisk in the olive oil.

6 Add the beetroot, season, then keep to one side.

7 Smash the feta with a fork and mix in the yoghurt, honey and chilli .

8 Warm the beetroot over a medium heat.

Place a pool of feta in the middle of a plate, divide the beetroot on top followed by the orange segments , pumpkin seeds and fronds of dill.

10 Drizzle the orange vinaigrette around the edge and serve.

SPICED PEA AND AVOCADO SOUP

Serves six

Spiced pea and avocado soup.
Spiced pea and avocado soup.

Ingredients

700g petits pois peas (frozen)
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and diced
1 chicken stock cube
1.2 ltr water
½ a green chilli, deseeded and diced
4 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
½tsp garam masala or mild curry powder
Salt and pepper

Method

1 Bring the peas, chicken stock cube and water up to the boil and cook for five minutes.

2 Meanwhile mix the yoghurt with the curry powder.

3 Blend the soup with the chilli and avocado.

4 Season and serve with the yoghurt dotted on top.

 A DETERMINED WOMAN’S CURRY

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 large 3cm knob ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp curry powder
1 onion, finely chopped
½ small red chilli, finely diced
200g red lentils
1 carrot, chopped into slices
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 veg stock cube
700mls water
1 x 400g can low fat coconut milk
Bunch coriander, chopped

Method

1 Put the oil, grated ginger and garlic into a casserole dish and fry gently for one minute.

2 Add the onion, chilli, lentils and curry powder and mix together and cook over low heat for three minutes.

3 Add the carrot and cauliflower, stock cube and water.

4 Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

5 Turn off heat, add the coconut milk and stir through.

6 Season and serve with plenty of chopped coriander.

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