There’s room in my life, as well as my tummy, for all kinds of food. I have recently wondered what the colleague in work whom I share an office with and whom is on a major health kick thinks of me and my eating habits, as they are a tad bizarre. At lunchtime, I may be found going without if I’m having a fast day (either 5:2 related or involuntarily as work is too busy!) to eating a slab of cake I have made at home to jolly up a rather depressing pre-packed sandwich.

On occasion, I may have a little savoury something also home-made and left over from the night before or I may disappear and go home for lunch as we live so close now. My drinks vary from the ever-present coffee (I would not choose to live without coffee) to the now exceedingly rare Pepsi Max. Now that was a hard addiction to quit. An Innocent smoothie if I’m feeling flush (and lazy) or a dilute no added sugar cordial may also pass my lips – these being the only occasion this once-a-dentist ever drinks her sugar (as opposed to eating it).

A bought trio of classic English biccies or a platter of fruit may be a substitute for anything more traditional or substantial. Quantity and quality are wildly variable, frenetic even. It must be slightly confusing as I am often self-depreciating and wishing I was “as thin as when I thought I was fat” aka in my teens and early-ish twenties. If I had known my 30-something self would become quite so hefty I would delight in my then long, lithe and lean figure. Sigh…

So these days both me and my cuddly Hungry Hubby try to tip the balance in favour of health and being less indulgent and naughty more frequently than the days we make my most popular blog post ever – homemade KFC. (See I know you lot are just as prone to the occasional naughty indulgence as me and the cuddly one are 😉 ). We’re even exercising again so we must be serious 😉


We had a bit of a carb-fest last night in celebration of Valentine’s Day – Hungry Hubby decided upon an indoor picnic and he wanted pies, sausage rolls and mini sandwiches. I had brunch rather than breakfast and lunch in preparation and did an extra power walk at lunchtime! We did have a medley of pineapple, grapes and melon instead of a baked pudding but still – it was enough to have me consider the Atkins Diet upon waking today!

Hungry Hubby requested “something light” for dinner this evening so after a trip to buy some waterproofs in the name of getting some outdoor exercise without needing to grow gills, we toddled to the local supermarket fish counter and came back with some rather beautiful tuna steak chunks. Cheaper than a beautifully cut steak (half the price) but still just as good in quality. Nice one.

dsc_0969Having been impressed with a tuna burger recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow, of all people, last summer that a friend passed to me I knew I wanted lemongrass and ginger to feature as the main flavourings for the delightfully fresh fish. Garlic too but in a more restrained moment, than I usually have when adjacent to my garlic stash, I only wanted the merest breath of garlic to ground the dish and give body, not mask the other delicate flavours. A dribble of olive oil to bring the minced lemongrass, ginger and garlic into a fragrant paste was all that was needed.

The fish was turned gently in the paste and set aside whilst the rest of the meal was prepared. Steamed rice was the bedrock of this dinner. The other tastes I had in mind were capable of speaking a little too loudly if not countered by soothing, creamy comfort here in the form of a tablespoon of coconut powder. It is a rather handy ingredient to have in and can be used to bake with or in savoury dishes. This is the brand I use – it is like a soluble coconut flour. Delish.

On the return from the fish counter via the vegetable aisle, the pak choi and baby corn/sugar snap mix caught my eye. Steamed veggies would absolutely go a long way to nullifying the carbohydrate excess from the night before. Of course, it would be a tad too virtuous even when Hubs and I are in temple food mode to have them completely plain so a little prinking was required after the bamboo steamer did its job. Gosh, they are efficient devices – each time I retrieve it from the cupboard I am astounded at how fast they cook their contents. A little Chinese cooking magic! An anointing with a hoisin sauce for the greens and chilli for the corn made these virtuous veggies sing.


As each of the elements in this dish took moments to cook (bar the rice, which I chose to steam in my Jamie Oliver Really Good Rice Cooker which I’ve mentioned before as it really was a revolution to me, cooking rice in the microwave, freeing up premium hob space) I only cooked the fish after quickly assembling my dish.

Now please do feel free to plate the individual elements separately if that makes your life easier – this sort of oriental style cooking all comes together at the last minute and can be stressful – but equally please so feel free to try elements of my recipe if the thought of all that frantic last dash stove top action makes you want to shriek!

The hoisin and garlic steamed pak choi would be a delicious side in and of themselves. The Chinese chilli oil anointed corn and sugar snaps are hardly a recipe, it is so simple a seasoning. Even just the fish and the rice with a few shredded spring onions would make a very happy, healthy tummy. I wonder if my afore-mentioned colleague reads this, will it assuage my guilt from the eating of two Biscoff cream cheese cupcakes in front of his keep-fit loving, raw fruit and yogurt bar self this week? 😉 (Find those on my Facebook page).

Lemongrass Tuna with Coconut Rice and Seasoned Steamed Veg
Servings: 2
Author: Just Jo
  • Approx 200g tuna steak cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oil olive, rapeseed or groundnut will do
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp coconut powder
  • 2 pak choi chopped in half between the stems and leaves
  • Handful of baby corn
  • Handful of sugar snaps
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce mixed with 2 tsp water and a small clove of garlic minced
  • 1-2 tsp Chinese chilli oil
  • 2-4 spring onions sliced finely on the diagonal
  • Toasted sesame oil if liked, to finish
  1. Mix the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and oil together to form a paste then gently fold it into the tuna steak – set aside until needed.
  2. Steam your rice – 1 cup rice to 2 cups water with the coconut powder added (this is optional) over the lowest heat possible in a pan or following your microwave rice cooker directions. This can take up to 15 mins on the hob so don’t start to cook your veg too early.
  3. Pop a large bamboo steamer over a wok or frying pan with an inch or two of simmering water in – steam the corn and peas first for 2 minutes, then add the pak choi stems for 2 minutes then finally add the leaves and cook for barely a minute or until wilted.
  4. Plate up your cooked rice into reasonably large bowls or dishes.
  5. Toss the pak choi in the hoisin and garlic – lay over a half of the rice.
  6. Drizzle the corn and peas with chilli oil and lay over a quarter of the rice.
  7. Quickly cook the tuna in a medium hot frying pan for 90 seconds each side so that the pieces are still medium rare inside then pop over the remaining rice. Don’t worry about the veggies getting cold – the rice will be hot enough to keep them warm for the 2-3 minutes it takes to cook the fish.
  8. Drop some toasted sesame oil over if liked then finish with the spring onions.

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