A Fasting Diet?

obesityLike many people of my age I am carrying around more weight than I should and probably more than is good for me. It doesn't take a genius to work out that putting on 8oz every month will lead to over 2st over 5 years. It may not work exactly like that but the principle is sound. If you don't keep a constant watch then the weight arrives, uninvited, and sticks around. I lead a very active life but I know that I cannot exercise off the calories involved some of the small indulgences that I find difficult to resist.

The most recent advice seems to be that diets work in the short term but fail in the longer term. Generally, that is because it is based on a regime that is just not sustainable for most of us. Although I have very occasionally tried the odd diet, for me they never really worked. I have always known that the long term answer is in a change of lifestyle and attitude in a way that feels comfortable for me. My trouble is that I love food, cooking and wine so I am up against it. I can well recall a comment that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson made when he was talking about the way that he has reduced his weight in a way that he has maintained. He said when it comes to wine "I drink less but better" Apparently alcohol is the Achilles heel of anybody hoping to reduce their weight so just this small comment is helpful.

The moment Christmas is finished the diet industry gets into top gear. The papers are full of celebrities pushing their solution to reducing weight and getting fit. Weightwatchers, the brand leader has signed up Patsy Kensit and the television is full of their new advert. There is no doubt that the TV would seem to show that Patsy has the dream body, as a result of the new weightwatchers plan. I cannot help but be cynical about what I see in the press or on TV. There was a time when everybody thought "the camera never lies". It today's world the camera almost always lies so I rarely believe anything I see.

However, despite my cynical nature I do accept, of course, that if you control what you eat and eat less you will take off weight. I have therefore been interested in the new diet fad - "The Fast Diet". The3 book by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer has become a best seller and has got people's attention. It is based on the idea that fasting two days a week, when you only have 500-600 calories. The rest of the time you can eat what you like. It seems that the results have been astounding and it would appear that those that have adopted to plan have found it quite easy to maintain. You organise your 500 cals to suit yourself throughout the day which provides flexibility you may need to accommodate your daily routines. Small tips include eating your 500 calorie meals in small mouthfuls to lengthen the meal time and for it to be more satisfying.

The upshot of this is that I am going to give it a try as I believe I could see this as being part of a lifestyle that I could maintain. I will comment on my progress over the months to come. Why don't you give it a go and let us know how you do?

December Fine Wines

dog point label2This month Berry Bros and Rudd have listed three fine wines for our consideration. They are expensive but, as you can see they carry substantial discounts. They do contain my favourite white wine, Dog Point, which I have reccommended before and is currently selling at a very attractive price.

Food & Wine Lessons

Wine – and food – is at its most pleasurable when paired together, when the combination of the two enhances the best in each. Here we suggest three very good wine and food pairings.

2009 Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc                         Was £21.25; Now £12.75

While most people reach for a bottle of red to match cheese, more often than not it is white wine that works better. To go with goat’s cheese you will find no better match than sauvignon blanc wines: the fresh, green flavours of these wines perfectly complement the acidity and tanginess of the cheese. From one of the very best New Zealand sauvignon producers, Section 94 refers to a very special vineyard plot which imbues a touch of yellow plum flavours to the wine, with very mellow and delicious results.


Au Bon Climat 2006 2008 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Knox Alexander                   Was £37.00; Now £23.95

Au Bon Climat (which means ‘a well-exposed vineyard’) produces internationally-recognised pinot noir wines from grapes grown in California’s Santa Barbara County. Knox Alexander is from a hillside site planted with the best pinot vine clones now available; thus hails what is arguably their very best red wine. Much fuller bodied and flavoured than most Californian pinots, this lush, velvety wine is bursting with ripe berries and hints of vanilla. Perfect for leaner cuts, like fillet of beef.


Haut Bailly 2007 Château Haut-Bailly                                                      Was £55.00; Now £38.50

From the prestigious Pessac-Léognan commune in Bordeaux, Château Haut-Bailly is an up-and-coming estate making everyone sit up and take notice. In 2007 they added more cabernet sauvignon than usual to their blend, which resulted in very ripe blackcurrant flavours and firm supple tannins, making this the perfect wine partner for good quality, flavoursome beef, like rare breed Belted Galloway.


All these wines are only available at Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Bin End Shop in Basingstoke, where they sell all their bin end wines at a minimum discount of 25%. Visit for opening times and directions.



This weeks bargains from Berry Bros and Rudd

Deveze Blanc 2007A Celebration of Wine

The new vintage is being picked in the northern hemisphere and annual wine festivals will start celebrating viticulture again. These events are common in most wine regions and drinking wine in company is the centre to all of them, usually along with regional foods and music.


2007 La Devèze Blanc Vielles Vignes         Was £15.95 Now £11.95

Made in the Pyrénées Orientales appellation just north of the eastern Spanish border, this is a blend of grenache gris and maccabeu grapes. It is a complex wine that exhibits tobacco and roasted almond alongside white peach and grapefruit. Perfect for eating with fish, such as that found in the region’s local ports, like Port-Vendres, where sardine, gurnard, mullet, bream, bass and shellfish abound.

2007 St Joseph, Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin       Was £18.90 Now £13.20Gerin St Joseph 2007

This comes from the northern part of the Rhône Valley, which lies close to Lyon, France’s gastronomical capital. The talented Jean-Michel Gerin has mastered the syrah grape to make a finely sculpted wine with a cornucopia of raspberry and black cherry flavours, and hints of sous-bois elegantly intertwined. This is wonderful with rich dishes and meats like the many saucisses of Lyon.

St Georges St Emilion 2007
2007 Château Saint Georges, Grand Cru St Emilion         Was £24.00 Now £17.95

This château is making some of the best value wine that Bordeaux has to offer. Plummy in character, it has enough spice and complexity to make it more than just another drinking wine. Bordeaux is famed for its fine fare, and this wine would be lovely with Pauillac lamb, Entrecôte Bordelais, wood pigeon salmis and even the local wild Cep mushrooms.


All these wines are only available at Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Bin End Shop in Basingstoke, where they sell all their bin end wines at a minimum discount of 25%. Visit for opening times and directions.


Wine Bargains

Dubost Beaujolais Village Tracot 2010Some time ago I wrote a piece about my experience of buying some wine at Berry Bros and Rudd. The article is still on line for you to rad if you wish. I now receive a weekly article form Berry Bros and Rudd regarding the special bargains that they are offering, all of which are at least 25% off and I thought you might like to read them. 

This week's Bargains

Pearls of Wisdom

There’s an R in the month and ostreaphiles everywhere are drawling at the thought of their first oyster of the season. These tasty bivalves are delicious just as they come, but partner them with the right accompaniment and wine and they’re manna from heaven!


2010 Picpoul de Pinet , Domaine Félines Jourdan                 Was £8.95 Now £6.15

Picpoul is a little-known, old-fashioned white grape from southern France which produces deliciously rounded wines. Domaine Félines Jourdan is a master with of this variety, producing fresh, dry white wines with hints of citrus fruits and fennel which are buttressed by a crisp backbone. This is just the right style of wine to enjoy alongside oysters in their shell served with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of Tabasco.


2010 Beaujolais Villages, Le Tracot, Domaine Dubost         Was £10.50 Now £7.85

Serve oysters the ‘French way’, on the shell with shallot wine vinegar, alongside a chilled red beaujolais. Choose one of the lighter styles, such as a ‘village’ wine, like this excellent example which is made from gamay grapes grown in the notable Le Tracot vineyard. It is a low-tannin wine which exhibits sapid cherry fruit and a notable terroir minerality.


2007 Château Villa Bel-Air Blanc                                           Was £18.95 Now £13.95

Château Villa Bel Air is a Graves property owned by the legendary Cazes family, who also own the revered Château Lynch Bages. This wine is a classic dry white bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon, the former giving delicious green herbaceous notes, while the latter bestows an attractive softness and roundness. Try this with Oysters Rockefeller: the sauvignon will echo the chopped herbs and spinach atop the bivalve, while the sémillon complements the butteriness of this delicious hot oyster dish.


All these wines are only available at Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Bin End Shop in Basingstoke, where they sell all their bin end wines at a minimum discount of 25%. Visit for opening times and directions.


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