Carb bored. Cut out.

gingerI'll explain the ginger later, but this week, we have decided to stop eating refined carbs and sugar for the foreseeable future. So I did what any sane person would and have stuffed my face full of cake, crumpets, pancakes, sandwiches, potatoes in their various, seductive guises, ice cream and chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although my stomach may have had a few complaints.In my daily life working with food, I often munch and graze my way through the day like a goat eating a coat sleeve just because it's there. And while a lot of the recipes are not too unhealthy, when you combine that with three meals a day it's easy to see why my clothes from ten years ago have inexplicably shrunk.When I'm out, I find it very difficult to buy food on the go that isn't stodgy and carb heavy. Now, I think hard about snacks and what I'm eating. It's shocking how much rubbish food we buy. I'm not going to turn into a health nut, but I feel excited by the thought of returning to eating how we were designed to. I will, on occasion, allow myself to revel in a burger, or have a great pile of steamed basmati rice with a curry, or some silken home-made pasta with ragu in a seaside Italian restaurant, or hot, salty chips with vinegar on the beach. I'm not a freak.So, I've stunk the house out with chicken stocks and chinese spices bubbling away in mysterious pots. I've worried about where I can store all the veg in addition to the fruit and veg I was already buying for my morning Nutribullet. These days, a liquid breakfast or lunch means a very different thing... Breakfast this morning, as an aside, was some sliced roast pork from the weekend, two fried eggs and a pile of steamed spinach with herb salt and chilli flakes. It took a little while longer than toast, but not much.This week, apart from the soups and stocks, and leftover meat, I am making a batch of ginger beer. My usual brand, 'Granny Steads' has sugar in it. And while I love its warming ginger heat, it's time to say goodbye. I'll use date syrup in this one. Adjust the quantities as you see fit. Bottoms up! (and with hope, smaller too...)Ingredients:2 large ginger roots, scrubbed and grated2tbsp date syrup250ml water1tsp yeast1 small red chilli1tsp turmericJuice of up to one lemon2l waterMethod:Heat the ginger, syrup, chilli, turmeric and water in a pan until just below the boil, simmer for a few minutes then turn off and leave to cool completely.Strain the syrup and add the yeast. Divide between two litre bottles and fill up with water (I'd use plastic ones at this point, just until you're ready to decant into glass and store in the fridge. You don't want to risk having to redecorate the kitchen. Add the lemon juice and shake well.Leave these for a week at room temperature, checking occasionally for excess gas buildup then transfer to glass bottles in the fridge. This will stop any further fermentation.

Miso soup with prawn, scallop and samphire

miso soupThis is one of the simplest and quickest meals you will ever make. And one of the most delicious. To make it work, though, you must get absolutely fresh tiger prawns and plump, large scallops. Don't be tempted to scrimp here, this is such a pure tasting dish and as there are so few ingredients there is nowhere to hide.I don't think you can beat a really good prawn. I prefer them to lobster. Keep the shells and heads in the freezer to use for bisque or stock.  If you're feeling hungry, a small bowl of jasmine rice on the side should satisfy you.I often will have a cup of miso in the morning, instead of tea or coffee. I feel purified and revitalised when I drink it. Again, buy a good paste, I like to use Clearspring's unpasteurised barley miso, it's organic and has nothing nasty in it. You can keep miso in a sealed jar in the fridge almost indefinitely, so it makes a great staple for when you're stuck. You can add some dried mushrooms to it or some fresh vegetables and you have a nutritious dish in a few minutes.I eat this more than an hour ago, and I still have flavours coming back to me. Like the best of things, this simple dish has left me wanting to come back for more.Ingredients (Serves 2)2 squares of dried kombu seaweed2 tbsp miso paste1 tbsp yuzu seasoning (lemon juice will do if you don't have any)2 large tiger prawns2 large scallops, coral attachedA small handful of samphire1l water2 tsp black lumpfish roe (or caviar if you're rich)MethodSoak the kombu in boiling water for about 20 minutes.Sear the scallop on both sides in some hot brown butter, then set aside.Bring the water back up to the boil and add the prawns. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the samphire and yuzu. Stir in the miso paste and make sure it blends in well.Peel the prawns, leaving the tails on if you like. Cut the seaweed in two and place at the bottom of a warmed shallow bowl. Add the scallops and samphire.Add a teaspoon of roe on top of the scallop then pour over the hot miso and serve immediately.