Monday, 31 March 2014

MPM: 31st March 2014

It may be the beginning of April, but the meal choices are a bit wintry in style this week, and very Britishy-comforty food type stuff.  I never really had school dinners very often, but if I had done, these are the kind of things that I would have wanted to eat.  We're away for a couple of nights next weekend and will be having the usual midweek soup night, and for the rest:
Toad in the hole with red onion gravy, braised Cavolo Nero and asparagus
Grilled pork chops with caramelised onion bubble-and-squeak
Game, red wine and mushroom pot pie with mash (we first had this a couple of weeks ago and there was enough filling for four pies, hence the reappearance.)
Cauliflower and macaroni "blue" cheese based on this recipe but subbing some of the Cheddar for Cashel Blue.
More meal planning fun over at Mrs M's.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Scales on Saturday - six months in

Weeks 1-25: -48lbs
This week: +1.25lbs
Total loss: 46.75lbs
Today is my 26th weigh in and it would have been nice to celebrate that half year milestone with a good result.  But it was not to be.  While I understand the gain in context of an indulgent weekend, I remain a little disappointed – the scales were hinting at a loss in the run up to this morning, the sly divils.  But, if this is to be a two step forward, one step back kind of journey then I’ll have to take it on the chin.
Half a year on (and hasn’t it flown by!) I am approaching a three and a half stone loss.  That’s not too shabby at all – the average works out at around 1.8 lbs a week, the top end of what anyone has a right to expect who is not living on chemical dust (TM Peridot).  It has slowed down since those heady, early days and I appear to have less leeway now than I did but, as my dear readers know, a big part of my life is enjoying eating out and I am (at the moment, at least) not prepared to give it up for the sake of weight loss, so I’ll just have to deal (TM young people).
I was very fortunate the my weight had yet to impact significantly on my health and yet there is no doubt that I feel a lot better for shedding nearly fifty pounds.  My fitness levels are still desultory (yes, I still need to tackle that and yes, I know that I write this on here with irritating regularity) but there has been a definite improvement in my energy levels and stamina which is nice.
There is still a long way to go.  I remember hitting the weight that I am now on the way up and feel utterly gargantuan which just goes to show how the mind plays tricks since at the moment I have some days when I feel positively svelte.  The truth is somewhere in between.  By any measure – BMI, waist size, the label in my trousers – I still have a lot of work to do.  I can’t afford to be complacent or to lose concentration and I have to be open to the possibility that the rate of loss will continue to slow down.  Without that weekly shot of validation from the scales, things are likely to get an awful lot of harder. 
I say it to other people and now I say it to myself – all you can do is keep on keeping on.  I think, whether a size 10 or a size 20, I’ll always be fighting my inner fat girl and some days she will win – and that’s ok; as long as those days are few and getting fewer then I will content myself with that.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Foodie Abroad: Spuntino's

I was already fairly sure that I liked Russell Norman, media styled “King of Soho Dining”.  But then I saw him on the BBC series “The Restaurant Man”, dispensing advice to aspiring restaurateurs, and this became a certainty.  He was witty and wise, had a very snazzy line in cardigans and (most importantly) was often to be seen writing busily in an elegant little notebook – any man with a proper appreciation for good stationery is a man that I wish to know.
This would still not be enough to induce with me to part with hard earned cash to eat in one of his venues were it not for the fact that they are very good indeed.  Russell Norman has a habit of creating restaurants that you really, really want to eat in.  They are trendy but not painfully so, stylised but with the substance to back the style up and genuinely appetising sounding menus which of course is the most important aspect of any restaurant.  Concept alone will not fill one’s boots.
We had already been to the original Polpo and to Mishkin’s and on Saturday we went to sniff out Spuntino’s – perhaps still on the tail end of our New York kick (it describes itself as a Brooklyn diner).  Fabulous stuff.  Not being particularly trendy we were more than happy to skip the queue and take one of the seats away from the bar area which meant that, despite the no booking policy, we had very little wait.  And waiting, to be honest, would have been no great hardship considering the excellent cocktails that the cheery bar staff were quite happy to hand you while you stood gazing longingly over the shoulders of fellow diners.  Let me tell you, the rhubarb sour was a thing of absolute beauty (always assuming that you like rhubarb and sour drinks – which we do). 
Food wise – Spuntino’s serves little dishes for sharing (or not) ranging from a selection of sliders (we tried all four) to some fresh looking salad plates (which we did not get around to ordering – D curled his lip at the thought, but I want to go back and check some of them out).  The truffled egg toast, which seems to have become something of a signature dish, was so amazingly good that we had to order a second one.  Nutty cheese, thick, sweet toast, a pool of golden yolk quivering in the centre, and that unmistakeable whiff of forest floor – it was just fantastically good, and I’d love to have a go at recreating it at home.

I don’t know whether I was still a bit full from the day before, but I found myself struggling earlier on than I would have liked and so a disturbingly large proportion of the menu remained unsampled (I even turned down the prospect of another drink after dinner in favour of heading home for a stomach soothing peppermint tea – unheard of!)  But we still found a corner for desserts and I am mightily glad we did.  The “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” was amazing – a blissfull combo of peanut butter parfait and raspberry compote, but the star (to my mind at least) was the brown sugar cheesecake.  This unassumingly beige dessert was sweet and creamy with a delicate hum of cinnamon spice – a perfect example of the cheesecake genre.  Worth the trip alone.
Mr Norman has recently opened a traditional pub which I will be sure to go and seek out next time I make it down South and, if I should happen to find him in there, perhaps doodling in a Moleskine, I will be sure to pull up a seat and explain to him in no uncertain terms why York would be the ideal location for a Northern branch of his empire.  In the meantime, Spuntino’s joins Polpo and Mishkin’s in the league of Restaurants I Wish Were Just Down The Road (but it is probably lucky, for the sake of my not inconsiderable waistline that they are not).

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Foodie Abroad: Dabbous

Dabbous is a restaurant that we have wanted to visit for ages and, this weekend, we finally did.  Following rave reviews from pretty much everyone who has ever eaten there, tables have not been easy to come by.  We ended up with a lunchtime rather than dinner slot but we have both agreed recently that this might, in fact, be preferable; I quite like emerging, blinking, into the afternoon sunshine, safe in the knowledge I have a good few hours to get on with the process of digesting umpteen courses.  Although talking of multiple courses, it is a mark of how spoiled your average fine diner is getting that we felt vaguely disappointed that we were presented with a tasting menu of seven courses and we got…seven courses.  We’ve got so used to the sneaky little extras that we now regard them as our due.  This minor gripe aside, £59 for the whole felt like remarkably good value. 
Before getting on to the actual food I have to take a minute to do an excited fan girl squeal about the basement bar area, which is apparently open to non diners.  I would definitely urge a trip along there for a peek at the superlative booze collection and a seriously good cocktail; I was only half joking when I told the barman that my “Dillusion” martini was the nicest thing I tasted all day. 
And so to our table upstairs, where we were cheek by jowl with our neighbours (French, appropriately nonchalant of expression throughout – eschewed cheese which we thought was jolly bad form).  The space is tight in the dining room and the style very much the modern, industrial feel that is becoming somewhat endemic – if you’re looking for hushed and hallowed halls, starched linen and leather bound menus, this is possibly not the place for you.  We opted for the tasting menu with nary a peek at the set lunch and also an absolutely fantastic English sparkling wine from Sussex, which is probably the nicest thing I have quaffed so far this year. 
The food, though, what of the food?  Well, I have no complaints.  When we came to mark the dishes out of ten afterwards (our new game to aid better comparisons across dining experiences – whether or not it works is probably debatable but it makes for enjoyable post dinner conversations) nearly everything was hitting the eights and nines.  The two palate cleanser courses (avocado in osmanthus and onion consommé, and poached rhubarb with lavender respectively) were, to our minds, the least satisfying plates – although they did the job, being both full of freshness and vim.  The pulled veal breast was an undoubted highlight, straddling the turn of the seasons between winter and spring admirably by combining lightness with savoury depth.  New season Jersey Royals, some no larger than a kitten’s paw, were perfectly celebrated, their musty sweetness enhanced rather than smothered by the velvety drape of the buttermilk sauce.  We also loved the combination of smoked halibut and celeriac – again the balance between lightness and shade was so cleverly done – and the barbecued octopus was a real revelation, inspiring us to get some cephalopods over charcoal as soon as the weather improves.
What else?  Oh, the cheese.  We were served a fondue of Spenwell cheese which had a fabulous hit of thyme to help cut through the richness - a genuine lick the bowl type of dish.  I really love the trend, which we’ve seen in a few places recently, for serving a single cheese or savoury rather than the more traditional cheeseboard.  And the dessert was lovely as well – a big, creamy, can’t-wipe-the-grin-off-your-face banana and custard éclair, it was a proper pudding which left us thoroughly sticky mouthed and content.
Overall, I thought that Dabbous, which could well have been a disappointment after all the intense hype, could have buckled under the weight of our expectations, bore up very well and I would be absolutely delighted to go back.  D thinks he might just about prefer Story (more testing is perhaps required) but for me, Dabbous was the more consistently enjoyable of the two not to mention possessed of a kick-ass cocktail bar.  Given how many people, possessed of far more discerning palates than I, have already lavished praise upon it, you probably don’t need a recommendation or otherwise from me.  But you have one anyway, such as it is.
39 Whitfield Street
020 7323 1544

Monday, 24 March 2014

MPM: 24th March 2014

After a lovely weekend away (gratuitous food porn posts to follow) I'm positively looking forward to climbing back on the WW wagon.  I don't know whether it is a result of me getting older, or wiser, or both, but I just can't eat and drink to excess anymore without it making me feel rather seedy - both mentally and physically. 

My daily points allowance has reduced by seven since I started back in September, which means I need to take a bit more care with planning the number of points that I consume during the day to enable me to keep eating the kind of evening meals I enjoy.  Soup and, as the weather gets nicer, salad are definitely the way forward for satisfyingly voluminous yet low point midday meals.  So with that in mind, tonight I will be preparing a batch of one of my favourite soups - creamy butternut squash and red pepper - for healthsome work lunches.  Sides can be adjusted according to what we are having for dinner.

There's been a little bit of a last minute change of plan this week because of the impulse purchase of an unassuming looking little black truffle purchased for just ten of your English pounds in Borough Market on Saturday.  Can I just say how much I love Borough Market?  It is probably a good thing that I do not live too close by as I suspect most of my wages would end up disappearing there.  Anyway, said fungus may have been cheap but he will not be good for long, so needs scoffing in the next couple of days.  Oh, the hardship.  With that in mind, we are having a bit of a vegetarian start to the week and getting steadily more carnivorous as the days go by:

Scrambled eggs on toasted English muffins with truffle shavings

Pasta with mixed mushrooms in truffle butter

Soup Night

Lamb biryani, using leftovers from Sunday's roast

Scandinavian style oxtail stew

More meal planning fun over at Mrs M's.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Scales on Saturday: 22nd March 2014

Weeks 1-24: -43.5lbs
This week: -4.5lbs
Total loss: 48lbs

Greetings from a sunny London! I am currently engaging in a weekend of gin and debauchery, of which more later, but I just wanted to update the blog to reflect a sterling effort last week which wiped out the previous gain and then some. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

Back soon!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Recipe corner: Sticky pork belly with noodles

Back in November I talked about how to cook perfect pork belly which we tend to serve simply with mashed potato and serious gravy.  This recipe is what we like to do with the leftovers.  Indeed, we always make sure that we buy a bigger piece than we need to ensure that we can cook this.  It is seriously delicious.
The original recipe started with raw pork which, being more permeable than cooked, would probably absorb the marinade slightly better, but it works fine with the cooked meat and the marinade ends up giving the pork a lovely, sticky coating (hence the title I suppose!).  The recipe below assumes that you have roasted the pork but not done the final, skin crisping, stage.
210g cooked pork belly, cut into squares
4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp water
1/2 orange rind, grated, and juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
2 nests of medium egg noodles
2 tsp sunflower oil
2 heads of pak choi, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Heaped tsp grated ginger
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
Red chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
Tbsp sesame oil
Serves 2, 17 pro points per portion
Lightly crush the cardamom pods and combine with the other marinade ingredients.  Add the pork to the marinade, cover and leave to soak up the flavour.  If I remember I do this 24 hours beforehand.  If not then a couple of hours will be fine.
When it is time to rock and roll, put the noodles on to cook in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Place the pork belly pieces in the pan, pouring over any remaining marinade and cook gently for 5 or 6 minutes until the sauce reduces and stickily coats the meat.
Put the sunflower oil in a larger frying pan or a wok and add the garlic, ginger and chilli and then turn the heat on - allowing them to heat up in the oil will help stop them burning.  When the oil is hot add the pepper and the white, crispy ends of the pak choi.  When these have started to soften add the green leaves and the coriander and allow to wilt in the heat, before adding the noodles and the sesame oil.
Serve the noodles topped with the sticky pork belly, garnishing with more chilli and coriander if you wish.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Moving on up (a bit)

Weeks 1-23: -45lbs
This week: +1.5lbs
Total loss: 43.5lbs

So, as expected, a gain this week and deserved to be quite honest. Four days out of seven well off track. At least I can take comfort in the fact that it would have been a lot worse had I not got my act together on Tuesday.

A gain always stings, even when you know the reason. I’ve had a relatively easy ride so far and a few weeks where I’ve achieved a loss where, really, it wasn’t warranted and so I suppose at the back of my mind I had hoped that I would always get away with it. This week has given me the salutary lesson that I won’t. It is ok to choose to have time “off” but I can’t then complain when the scales nudge their way up.

This next week is a quiet one which will (I nearly used the word “should”) give me the opportunity to turn things around. There is no doubt in my mind that I will – I want this far too much to allow a little slip up to derail me.

This, by the way, is one of the Saturday night cocktails that led me down the path to gaindom. It is in an OWL for gawdsake. How could I not?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The daily weigh

Weighing in daily is something that splits the dieting community (hmmm...are we a community?  If so, should we have some sort of parish hall where we can all meet for tea and calorie free cake?)  At Weight Watchers, because the emphasis is so much on the weekly meeting, they very much frown upon people jumping on the scales willy nilly, and given that they have proper, regularly calibrated Grown Up Scales I can sort of see their point.
But I find my daily communion with the bathroom scales to be an important part of my routine.  For one thing, it keeps me mindful.  Even if I'm not doing anything about it (and, let's face it, there have been plenty of weeks and months chronicled on this blog where I have not) I do think that letting go of that mindfulness is a potentially dangerous path to go down.  For another, it takes away from the idea that the weekly weigh in is the ultimate expression of your week's achievement.  My weight can bounce all over the place - lows do not necessarily follow "good" days anymore than highs follow "bad" ones - but if I were only seeing one number a week that would be my only snapshot of progress.  I am trying (and, generally, succeeding) to stop focusing on any single result and concentrate instead of the overall trend.  If it is downwards, then I am winning.
Of course, as with so many things, it is easy to write in a positive and earnest manner when that trend is downwards.  I'm pretty sure, going on past form, that I'm looking at a gain for the "official" (by which I mean recorded) weigh in tomorrow and I have had a bit of a sulk about it this morning.  Yes, I had a nice weekend away but I was by no means mainlining cake all day every day and I've been on track since...oh, Tuesday.  The weekend gain should have vanished by now - plus a little bit more for good measure.
It's moments like that when I find myself particularly irritating.  Five months in and three stone down, it is only to be expected that I have to fight a little harder for the good results and three days out of seven is not what I would call fighting hard.  And, OK, I didn't indulge in over the top eating but there were cocktails and wine and we all know that drinking alcohol is basically like smearing lard direct on your thighs.  I can't afford to let myself be derailed by blips.  What I have to do is decide whether I'm willing to take them on the chin and accept that dieting has to be a part of life rather than the other way round, or whether I'm just going to go and live on a deserted island for another six months where I have no sort of social life to distract me.
Hey, perhaps the whole community could decamp??  Set up a sort of dieting retreat??  Let me know if you fancy it - I'll start researching remote outposts and one hundred things to do with thistles.

Monday, 10 March 2014

In which I weigh in at home

Weeks 1-22: -42lbs
This week: -3lbs
Total loss: 45lbs
Previously on the WW Foodie, our intrepid heroine wondered if she could continue on her weight loss journey without attending the weekly humiliation that is the WW meeting.  You're lucky, gentle readers, I was going to try and make that an extended Hobbit metaphor but it's been a heavy weekend and I just don't have the energy.
So, yes, I decided that for the month of March I would keep up my full membership but weigh in at home and see if I could maintain a decent rate of loss with my husband taking on the role of Leader, which title I think he quite enjoys.  As you'll see, the first week of this experiment went well with a splendiferous 3lb loss.  I am pleased.  D is pleased.
This week, if I can maintain I will be perfectly happy (see note above of heavy weekend) but, realistically, I may be looking at a bit of bounce back.  Leader is sanguine.  

MPM: 10th March 2014

Yes folks, it's that time of the week again...

A quiet week ahead, which is nice. We're out on Friday for a chocolate and wine tasting - no, I don't know how I'm going to point that either - but otherwise no plans. Maybe this will be the week that I finally stop talking about doing some exercise and actually do some. Or maybe not.

Foodwise, we continue to try and clear the freezer, so the choices are slightly dictated by that.

Roasted chicken breast, lemon couscous, tenderstem broccoli

A classic kedgeree

Game pie - the filling probably slow cooked with mushrooms, red wine and juniper

Sticky pork belly with noodles and bok choi

Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings (roast potatoes and parsnips, carrot and swede mash, sautéed cabbage, peas, gravy)

More meal planning fun over at Mrs M's.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The long weigh down

Starting any sort of healthy eating plan often nets you a spate of good results very quickly.  Which is good, but I think the body has got it all wrong.  When youre at the beginning, your motivation is generally at its absolute peak and you are not reliant on validation from the scales to maintain a high level of effort.  Its when you’re a few months in that you really need those big losses to keep your motivation levels from dipping.
A few years ago, my liver was a bit grumbly and so my doctor referred me to a liver specialist at the local hospital who, in the nicest possible way, said that the best way to fix things was to be less fat.  But he also said that he always advised his patients to aim to lose no more than a pound a week, explaining that any faster and you could end up putting a lot of strain on your other organs.  I had never thought of losing weight as actually putting strain on your body before. 
Of course, it’s very easy to write this and very easy to give advice to people that slow and steady really is the best way.  I do it myself all the time – on other blogs, on the WW message boards, and I always, always mean it.  But when it comes to my own results, not so easy.  There is a little voice constantly saying “You’ve been at this five months now – why are we not there yet?” or “You’ve only lost a pound this week – this is going to take forever, let’s give up and eat cake.” 
I suppose that part of the problem is that I think it is natural to say, if I lose weight at x rate then by y time (y being a holiday, a special event) I will look like z.  But that way madness lies.  The problem with time related goals is that you can be an absolute angel but you have no ultimate control as to the rate at which your body chooses to shed the poundage.  And for me, I want to continue to have a social life and enjoy eating (and drinking) out, which means accepting that some weeks I just won’t be able to create a sufficient calorie deficit.
I guess acceptance is what I need and what I’m groping towards, acceptance, patience, and the ability to enjoy the tiny victories along the way.
And, for the record, this is what a pound of fat looks like:
To lose even half of that is a serious achievement.

Monday, 3 March 2014

MPM: 3rd March 2014

Weekends always seem so distressingly short.  Or is it just me?  I'm sure they lasted forever when I was a child but now...blink and it is Monday morning.
Actually, it's Sunday evening as I write this and a very dark and wet and miserable Sunday evening it is too.  We have had stew and dumplings for tea which was very weather appropriate.  As we move in to March I feel like we should be opting for lighter, more salad-ey options but who can fancy salad in the face of bitter winds and driving rain?
Anyway, in terms of meal planning it is a short week.  I'm away next weekend, heading to London to catch up with friends and watch irreverent musical theatre.  D has nobly volunteered to eat the mystery fish that we have lurking in the freezer in my absence.  For the nights where we are at home, I'm thinking...
Roast pork loin steaks, roast celeriac, braised red cabbage, tenderstem broccoli
Beef massaman curry
Not an awful lot of cooking required, as the cabbage and the curry are also being liberated from the freezer's icy depths.  But lots to look forward to nonetheless.
More meal planning fun over at Mrs M's.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Slow cooker recipe corner: (Very) chilli con carne

D has worked long and hard to convince me of the merits of the chilli.  Me, I've never been sold.  If I'm going to eat a plate of tomatoey mince meat then spag bol will win every single time.  And, yes, I am quite aware that a proper ragu from the Bologna region of Italy is a million miles away from tomatoey mince meat, but I have never claimed to cook anything authentically.
Anyway, chilli.  I think he may finally have shown me the point.  The dish he produced the other night, an amalgam between Heston's recipe, Felicity Cloake's and "some other recipe that I saw on a blog", was rich and complex and quite a thing of beauty.  It eschews the usual tomatoes for a whole host of other unusual sounding ingredients which adds up to something that is significantly more than the sum of its parts.
You will, of course, notice that it uses a LOT of chilli.  And not just that but a lot of different types of chilli. This necessitated a rather expensive trip to Waitrose.  The payback was the incredible depth and complexity of flavour - each brought a different note with it.  But it was not the cheapest meal that we have ever cooked.  And of course I should say something about the heat level.  I have quite a timid palate when it comes to heat and found this to be on the edge of what I can comfortably manage.  A dollop of crème fraiche (you could also use yoghurt or sour cream) tempered the heat beautifully - D, who is far hardier of taste bud, judged it to be spot on just as it was. You could de-seed the dried chillies to reduce the heat.

Slow cooking is perfect for this sort of dish - it allows the spices time to develop and makes the meat meltingly tender.  But, of course, it could be cooked on the hob if you preferred.
200g beef braising steak, cubed
400g beef mince
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
250ml freshly brewed coffee
2 x Knorr beef stock pots (or other beef stock concentrate)
25ml bourbon
125ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
20g dark chocolate (we used a dark chocolate with chilli that we happened to have in)
2 large carrots, grated
Handful of mushrooms, finely chopped
2 dried chipotle chillies, finely chopped
2 dried habanero chillies, finely chopped
2 dried ancho chillies, finely chopped
2 dried cascabel chillies, finely chopped
2 fresh green jalapeno chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 jar of honeydew piquante peppers, drained and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp hot chilli powder
2 star anise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
200g kidney beans
200g black eyed beans
Serves 6, 9 pro points per portion
Dry fry the mince until well browned and transfer to the slow cooker.  Brown the steak in the mince juices and likewise add to the slow cooker.  De-glaze the pan with the red wine and pour over the meat.
Add all the other ingredients, stir, and season well.
Cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve with rice, or nachos, or tortillas and a large glass of water :-)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Take me to your leader

Weeks 1-20: -39.5lbs
Last week: -1lb

This week: -1.5lbs
Total loss: 42lbs

Ladies and gentlemen, we have hit the three stone mark (pauses to acknowledge the whooping from the peanut gallery).

Regular readers will know that I have long thrashed like a disconsolate salmon between meetings and at home weigh ins and so it will come as no surprise to them that, flushed with my current success, I am considering ditching the meetings altogether and having my "official" weigh in at home, supervised by my very own leader and weight loss guru, D.  He is designing a spreadsheet at we speak.

I wonder if I am kidding myself that I don't need the structure engendered by the weekly meeting and that without it, I will drift.  On the other hand, I don't get anything out of the meetings themselves and am currently paying £15 a month (the difference between full and online membership) for the privilege of getting weighed by a stranger in a church hall.

I think that I will give it a try for the next month but will not cancel my full membership during that time so that if things start to slow down for no good reason I will admit defeat and go back.  I have a couple of weekends away during March so I am not setting my sights too high but as long as the trend is still downwards I will be content.  I'd love to hit the big 5-0 by Easter - just need to avoid Malteser bunnies between now and then.