This time of year feels like I'm riding the crest of a wave. Spring has sprung, daylight is plentiful and we are awash with bank holidays! The cherry blossom is in full bloom, the washing dries on the line and you can get the kids out the house! Apart from the odd hail storm life is good.
It makes me feel that summer is around the corner, as I wave off the comfort food and red wine in front of the fire and welcome in lighter seasonal delights and beer o' clock on the patio! But as the winter layers are peeled back, what is there for the world to see?
I did it myself last week. A day before we went on holiday I had a panic that a pair of trousers felt tight when they were fine a few weeks ago. Had my 5 months of blogging and being chilled about getting to the gym and eating what I pleased finally hit?!
This resonated last night as I watched a screening of Embrace, a docufilm by Taryn Brumfitt, mum of 3, about her journey after she posts a reverse before/after photo on Facebook and the response goes viral. It documents how women feel living in a world of 'perfect' model images and how judgments based on age, size and perceptions of what is 'normal', is a daily struggle for some. How healthy is it to feel the need to change ourselves, to obsess about what we allow ourselves to eat (or not eat) and what impact is it having on our mental health to fit this 'ideal'?
I still remember in my 20s, when I noticed my first eye wrinkle on holiday in Tenerife and the fear I felt in the pit of my stomach every time I checked the mirror, that it was still there. I remember the conflict inside of me when an ex-boyfriend used to say, if we ever had kids and I was 'fat' afterwards he'd leave me, knowing that this was unfair and unrealistic to expect this. As little as 6 months ago, if I hadn't flogged myself at the gym 3 times that week I would feel guilty. All these beliefs, whether owned or projected, alter our perceptions of what we can or can't do, eat, be and takes up valuable headspace.
When I dropped the intensity to control my body about the same time as I started this blog I started doing yoga again instead. And you know what? I'm not the size of a house today. Yes, my fitness dropped, but moreover, I felt happy and quite liberated from myself! I have more space in my head for creativity and by having that quiet time, I leave with many answers to questions I was unsure of an hour earlier! With acceptance comes peace and the chance for a new mindset to appear in its place.
As the summer does approach, I have realised that I do want to get back to the gym, but not because I feel I have to or have eaten a packet of biscuits! I'm exercising because I want to get strong and fit again and not as a trade-off. For me, this feels like a healthier attitude. As Jim Rohn says, "Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live!"
Having just spent a week in Cornwall, our intake of fish and seafood has peaked, and being at the beginning of the asparagus season and tasting super fresh Cornish new potatoes has inspired this dish. The sauce is a new find for me, and I have adapted this traditional Sicilian sauce to be fuss-free and have a slight twist! Remember to pin, post or tweet this page with the buttons below the recipe so you can find it later! Enjoy!! Lisa x
Haddock with asparagus, Jersey royals and salmoriglio
Prep. 15 mins. Cook 15 mins.
Two 180g-220g portions of responsibly sourced haddock, pollock or firm white fish (My piece was the former and perfect)
250g asparagus, woody ends removed and trimmed
Jersey royals washed and cut in half if large
Salt and pepper
1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, add the Jersey Royals and cook for 10-15.
2. Halfway through the cooking process place a steam basket on top of the potatoes and steam the asparagus for 5-7 until it is tender and has a slight bite still. This will depend on how thick the asparagus is.
3. On a medium heat, add a knob of butter to a frying pan with a tsp of olive oil to stop the butter burning. When melted place the seasoned fish, skin side down into the pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes, then turn over (and the heat down) and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side and remove from the pan.
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp hot water
Juice 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped or 1 tsp dried oregano
6 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 small gherkins, finely diced
Salt and pepper
1. Place the herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound for a few minutes so that it starts to break down. Add a couple of pinches of salt and a squeeze of lemon and continue pounding until the mixture is smooth. Put into a bowl.
2. Add the rest of the lemon juice and hot water, then whilst whisking, add the olive oil to emulsify.
3. Add the gherkins, season with a small pinch salt and pepper. If the garlic is quite a strong taste add a bit more lemon.
4. If you do not have a pestle and mortar, chop the herbs and garlic as fine as you can on a chopping board.
5. This sauce will work really well with any firm white fish, swordfish or skate wings. Simple and fuss free!! The Jersey Royal and asparagus season is quite short, so make the most of it whilst it's here, but once the season is over you could continue to enjoy this dish with new potatoes and green beans, or wilted chard or spinach.
Remember to keep the fuss-free foodie in your feed give a little like, share or comment. If you want to see more of what I get up to in the week running up to the blog you can follow me on Instagram or on the Fuss Free Foodie page on Facebook or what I'm tweeting on Twitter. Lisa