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4th November 2013

The Hairy Dieters Eat for Life

Faye Waterhouse sets out to see if the North-east’s equivalent of the Two Fat Ladies still cut the mustard with their new slimline recipes.

Si King and Dave Myers are The Hairy Bikers, but due to a recent transformation, both their image and cooking reflect their new image as the Hairy Dieters.

Their new book The Hairy Dieters Eat for Life is an extension of the hugely successful Hairy Dieter’s Cookbook. So King and Myers have proven you can shed pounds and maintain a healthy diet following these recipes but are the meals actually interesting and inventive enough to justify the rather pricey tag of £14.99?

Well, the book is divided into sections such as ‘breakfasts and brunch’, ‘meals with mates’, and ‘something sweet’—useful when looking for what you fancy. Personally, I found being told how to make what they describe as a ‘wakey wakey breakfast salad’ or fruit salad to you and me slightly patronising. However I quickly understood their aim to create dishes that are fresh and flavoursome.

I particularly liked the ‘real food fast’ and ‘meals with mates’ sections and was surprised to discover that most of the recipes don’t require buying random ingredients you’ll use once then put in the cupboard forever. A lot of the dishes rely heavily on herbs and spices to give flavour so it would be worth stocking up on these. I enjoyed making (and eating) the Chicken Provençal, it took approximately the amount of time they said it would—none of that ’15 minute meal’ nonsense here, and the chicken was tender and satisfying considering its classed as ‘low calorie’.

The ‘something sweet’ section of the book is somewhat small as to be expected and they like to ‘rely on the lovely flavour of fruit to supply that hint of sweetness’. I was somewhat dubious. However, curious as ever I set about making the apple and blackberry cornflake crumble, yes that’s right cornflakes, one of many alternatives King and Myers use to create healthier alternatives to the classic recipes. It took no time at all to rustle up and the verdict… a hit! The cornflakes added a nice crunch which went well with the tartness of the fruit and at a calorific content of 192 per portion (providing you’re not sneaky and delve in for more) not at all naughty!

I was pleased to find more traditional dishes such as Tikka Masala, burgers and roasts. You may struggle slightly if you are a vegetarian as most of the dishes are based around meat and fish. Vegetables usually do play a big part in bulking up the meal though. I was a bit disappointed when I realised the majority of the meals are best cooked and eaten fresh and can’t be stored away for another day but this isn’t too much of a drawback as most of the dishes don’t take long.

Well done Si and Dave, a diet book that not only seems to serves its purpose but also tantalises taste-buds and leaves me feeling rather smug that I know £14.99 was well spent.

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