Photo Courtesy of: www.kitchn.com
In the middle of my year-long devotion to the Hinch 'soup and wine' diet back in the days of the HINCH program, I was invited to a dinner for Fergie who had her own weight loss challenges.
Wasn't called the Duchess of Pork for nothing.
The ritzy affair at the Grand Hyatt was a charity fundraiser and I didn't feel comfortable making special dietary demands.
So, I was resigned to the inevitable rubber chicken. Didn't happen. As everybody else got the alternate beef or chicken, a huge silver tureen appeared in front of me containing a delicious lobster bisque. Who said diets weren't fun?
In that year, I lost about 18 kilos and my TV producer, Dermot O'Brien, lost about 12. It was at the time of the post-Skase scorched earth budget cuts at the Seven Network.
I told the boss, Bob Campbell, there should be no cuts at HINCH because, through the diet, we'd already lost the equivalent of one staffer.
I'm back on the Hinch diet, have been all year, with a 2014 New Year's Eve target loss of 13.4 kilos. Half way through 2013 and I'm half way there.
I mentioned the Fergie story to an intrigued dinner partner this week when I ordered just minestrone and a bread roll at Romeo's .
(A couple of nights before at the same favourite noshery in Toorak I had a bowl of potato and leek soup. Nicely filling.
The diet, which actually got a dietician's endorsement, was pretty simple. It was published as The Derryn Hinch Diet and actually topped the Daily Telegraph's best seller list ahead of Naomi Wolf' s The Beauty Myth.
We used to joke: You've heard of the Fit for Life Diet, well this is the pissed For life diet. Well, along with the soup, we were drinking more than our share of white wine.
The rules were simple: fruit for breakfast, anything for lunch (but in smaller portions) and soup, white wine and a bread roll for dinner .
And it worked. I had planned to lose 26 pounds in a year at 1/2 pound a week--only a few hundreds grams -- and I actually lost 40 pounds.
This time around the regimen has been made easier because I now possess a simple soup maker called a Morphy Richards.
This is soup making for dummies. You just chop any vegetables into chunks and toss them in with a cup of water or commercial vegetable stock or a combination of both.
For most soups I add some cracked pepper, a teaspoon of crushed garlic from a jar and half a teaspoon of Thai green curry paste. Also a splash of low fat milk just before serving.
My favourite is mushrooms, cauliflower and a large carrot. Bewdiful. The soup maker, chops, heats and eventually purées the soup. The more liquid you put in, the thinner it gets.
I also make soup with green vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, bok choy and the cauliflower leaves.
In the old days I would often just use canned tomato soup with added rice or beans or shredded chicken.
(Hard to believe these days that I used to boil the bejesus out of a whole chicken and render it down until I could tediously pull out every bone and bone fragment plus skin and skimmed fat once it cooled.)
The diet book not only had weight loss tips but also soup recipes from famous people. There was the gin and tomato soup from the infamous Sebel Town House in Sydney which started this diet. Plus Ernest Hemingway’s curried trout soup, my own BrookFarm wagon wheel tomato and cognac soup, Vince Colosimo’s minestrone, Paul Lynch’s Thai fish soup with dumplings, an orange and tomato soup from Janet Holmes a Court, Jacki Weaver’s gin gazpacho and the famous hot and sour soup from Gilbert Lau’s Flower Drum.
My brother Des in New Zealie told me this week that they are promoting a super soup diet on telly over there. You know, lose 10 kilos in a week.
As I pointed out in the book: You can do that but you a stupid. And it won't last. You lose water, fat and muscle. You put back, and you will, just the water and the fat. Not smart.
And speaking of NZ, I stayed on the soup rules while visiting recently and at the Salt restaurant in the Waterfront Hotel in my hometown of New Plymouth I had the biggest bowl of seafood chowder with wood-fired sourdough you could ever finish.
More than a soupçon.