Golden tangle pie

Golden Tangle PieContinuing with my theme of using turmeric in more dishes and making delicious, healthy, well balanced meals…

When you are cutting back on starchy carbs, but not cutting them out altogether, a little filo pastry can provide a fantastic (and also quick and easy) topping for a pie. 

Here I have layered some softened leeks and mushrooms, followed by chopped cooked turkey, and pieces of cooked ham, topped with a creamy sauce with added golden paste. Then taking one sheet of filo per person, I cut each sheet into small squares and scrunched these up to cover the top of the dish. Sprayed or brushed very lightly with olive oil, then baked in a hot oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Tangle Pie

This would work equally well with fish or lentils, in fact there are probably hundreds of different possibilities! This is one of my favourite things to do with the Christmas leftovers – I put up a picture last year, but here is the recipe, complete with calorie counts.

Tangle Pie

My luxury version comes out at
Per serving:
490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soy sauce. So a delicious fast day main dish at only 390 kcals! Counts would be similar if you used about 100g of white fish or cooked lentils per person, instead of the meat. Calorie counts in brackets.

Golden Tangle Pie
Serves 4
A lovely crunchy topping on a luscious creamy base. Mmm, works brilliantly with leftovers, or a great alternative for all kinds of pie. Layer the vegetables, followed by the meat, fish, beans or lentils, pour over the sauce and scrunch the filo on top. Quick and easy to prepare, delicious to eat! Calorie calculations are for the 'luxury' version, using cream and cheese in the sauce, and turkey and ham for the base.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g cooked turkey or chicken, chopped into chunks (510)
  2. 130g cooked ham, cut into cubes (117)
  3. 7g unsalted butter (50)
  4. 2 medium leeks, sliced (100)
  5. 100g mushrooms, sliced (22)
  6. 4 sheets filo pastry (264)
  7. 1.5 tsp olive oil (60)
White sauce
  1. 15g / 1 tbsp butter (102)
  2. 20g plain flour (68)
  3. 200 ml semi skimmed milk (80)
  4. 100ml cream (292)
  5. 1 egg, beaten (72)
  6. 50g grated cheese (203)
  7. ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  8. pinch cayenne powder
  9. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. 2 tsp golden paste (22)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently sauté the leeks and mushrooms, until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.
  4. Stir well and cook over low heat for a minute or so, then gradually add the liquid, stirring well after each addition to keep it smooth.
  5. Keep stirring until it comes to a simmer, then add the beaten egg, seasoning, grated cheese and golden paste and mix in well.
  6. Put the vegetables in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
  7. Layer the meat, fish or pulses on top.
  8. Pour the sauce over.
  9. Now cut the filo pastry into 3 strips and each strip into 3 squares or rectangles.
  10. Scrunch up the pastry and distribute evenly over the top of the pie dish, then spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.
Notes
  1. I used a mix of milk and cream, as that is what I had leftover. A little cream does give a lovely luxurious texture, but you could cut the calories down by using all milk. Of course, you can use non-dairy milk if you prefer.
  2. The cheese again, adds a little extra savoury kick to the sauce,and I had some scraps to use up - but for a non-dairy dish, you could add some other flavouring, such as soya, worcestershire or nutritional yeast.
Per serving
  1. 490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
  2. You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soya sauce. So a decent fast day main dish at 390 kcals!
Adapted from Hairy Dieters
Adapted from Hairy Dieters
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Turmeric is my latest go-to spice

Did I mention Turmeric yet? Perhaps not. Since watching a recent ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor‘ episode, I have been inspired to include more turmeric in our diet. In a really interesting piece of research, it was discovered that eating turmeric has effects on the methylation of DNA that are not achieved by taking supplements. It is hoped that this helps to unravel some of the negative changes that may occur, and in particular may help reduce our risk of cancer.

_MG_5830

The use of heat, and the addition of oil and black pepper helps to increase the bio-availability of turmeric, so the ideal way of adding it to our diet is to make a curry! But actually, you can use turmeric in many different kinds of dishes and even in desserts. An easy way to increase your use of it is to make Golden Paste – you cook turmeric powder in hot water and then add in coconut oil (or olive oil) and freshly ground black pepper. 

I’ve been experimenting with ways of using this. I’ve added it to bolognese sauce, stir fries, braised vegetables, in fact almost anything savoury can take the addition of some. We often start the day with some greek style yoghurt, with half a tsp of golden paste added in, some chopped fresh figs (which are abundant at the moment in our garden) and topped with chopped toasted hazelnuts. I also discovered that banana fried in butter with golden paste, honey and lime juice is amazing! For added spice benefits, I served it with fromage blanc mixed with ground cinnamon and decorated with lime zest.

Turmeric is often used as an inexpensive substitute for saffron, as it gives a strong yellow colour – the flavour is quite different, but it does tend to work agreeably with the same food partners. Here is my variation of an Ottolenghi dish. Roast Chicken with Turmeric, Hazlenuts and Honey.

Roast Chicken with Turmeric, Hazelnuts and Honey

Roast Chicken with Turmeric, Hazelnuts and Honey
Serves 4
A comforting family meal or an exotic dinner party dish, the delicate spicy flavours and tantalisingly crunchy topping make this easy dish a winner.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
  2. 2 onions, chopped
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 tsp ground ginger
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 2 tsp golden paste
  7. juice of 1 lemon
  8. 4 tbsp cold water
  9. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. 100g shelled hazelnuts
  11. 35g honey
  12. 2 tbsp orange flower water
Instructions
  1. In an ovenproof dish, mix the onion, spices, oil, lemon juice, water and seasoning.
  2. Marinade the chicken pieces in the mix for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190c.
  4. Bake the chicken for 35 minutes on a middle shelf.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, spread the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven on a top shelf for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden.
  6. Allow the nuts to cool for a little, then rub in a clean cloth to remove the skins.
  7. Chop the nuts roughly and mix with the honey and flower water to make a rough paste.
  8. Remove the chicken and spread with the nut paste.
  9. Cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes, until the nuts are nicely browned.
Notes
  1. See the link on this page for the method for making golden paste.
  2. Alternatively you can use a good pinch of saffron strands.
  3. I used orange flower water, but rosewater would be more authentic.
  4. I served this with Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Orange (from The Cookbook by Ottolenghi) and Orzo (langues des oiseaux) pasta with vegetables.
  5. The calorie count is per serving: 450 kcals, 35g Carbs, 30g Fat, 18g Protein
Adapted from Ottolenghi
Adapted from Ottolenghi
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Beautiful Basil…

It’s getting to the time of year when most of my gardening time is spent watering and harvesting. The first wave of beans and the raspberries are now coming to an end, but tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, summer squash, Swiss chard and perpetual spinach are growing abundantly, and the first chillies are ripening. 
For these vegetables I’ve been trying out some new ideas, most of which I have captured on my Pinterest board – Seasonal Specials

I also have some fabulous Basil plants. This year I have Purple, Sweet Green Genovese and Thai varieties. 

DSCF4081

DSCF4078 DSCF4080

 

So, what to do when you have a fabulous amount of basil? I make Basil Oil – it is wonderful drizzled over fish, chicken, anything with tomatoes, roasted vegetables, cheese…. This and the other following recipes are from my first book Focus on Flavour.
DSCF3305 DSCF3309

Basil Oil 

I came across this in a book by Annabel Langbein and it was an instant hit with me, because I adore basil and mourn the end of the growing season. This is the perfect way to preserve the intensity of its flavour and colour. It gives a terrific visual lift to the Tomato and Feta Tartlets as well as giving its heady herbal warmth to chicken, fish, potatoes or other vegetables.

  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
  • Boiling water
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Pour the boiling water over the basil leaves and immediately refresh under cold water. Drain well and blot dry with paper towel. Blend with salt and olive oil until smooth. Store in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays.

Approx 120 calories per tbsp

Tomato and Feta Tartlets with Basil OilTomato and Feta Tartlets with Basil Oil  

These little tarts are really yummy. A wonderful mixture of tastes and textures. You could use mozzarella instead of feta.

Serves 6

  • Ready rolled Puff Pastry (373 kcal)
  • 3 – 4 large ripe tomatoes (100 kcal)
  • ½ pack (75 grams) feta cheese, sliced (200 kcal)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Basil Oil (360 kcal)

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Cut out circles about 10cm diameter from the pastry. Lay onto a baking tray and prick the bottom with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes.

Slice the tomatoes and layer on the pastry, alternating with the cheese. Drizzle with basil oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Serve with a drizzle of basil oil on the plate.

Approx 175 kcals per serving

I also love to make my own Pesto, but instead of using Pine Nuts, I use Walnuts

Walnut Pesto 

Until I discovered Basil Oil this was the only way in which I could capture the wonderful aroma of basil to use beyond the season when it grows fresh. We have plenty of walnuts here, so I used them instead of pine nuts and I think they give the pesto a really fantastic flavour. It also tastes delicious without the cheese for vegans or those avoiding dairy products. 

I use this with pasta for a simple starter or lunch dish, mix it in to a vegetable soup just before serving, or spread over meat or fish (see Chicken Pesto Parcels).

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup shelled walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 25g finely grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)

90 calories per tbsp
Fat 9.5g, Carbs 0.6g Protein 1.6g

Put the basil, garlic, walnuts and salt into a blender with about half the olive oil to mix to a paste. Stir in the cheese, if using. Transfer to a screw-top jar and pour in extra olive oil to cover completely. Screw on the lid and store in the fridge. Mix well before using and recover any remaining paste with olive oil again. Keeps well. 

Chicken Pesto Parcels 

A super simple way of dressing up a piece of chicken, full of flavour and great for a 5:2 fast day

Cooking the chicken wrapped in paper helps to keep all the flavour and juiciness in. This is a great way to cook if you need to cater for different preferences – meat, fish and vegetarian parcels can all be cooked at the same time without transferring their flavours. 

Serves 4

  • 4 escalopes of chicken (or turkey) (164 kcals per 100g)
  • 2 tbsp Walnut Pesto (180 kcal)
  • 4 slices Bayonne ham (183 kcal)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Spread the pesto on the chicken. Lay the ham on top. Roll up each one and place into the centre of a sheet of baking paper, then fold up and seal into parcel. Bake for 30 minutes at 200ºC.

Lovely served with braised endive in a cheesy sauce.

Approx 250 calories per serving (based on 100g chicken)

Love Crispy Chinese Duck? Try Crispy Chinese Pork!

Since we have been in France, one of the things we occasionally miss is going to the local Chinese restaurant for crispy duck with pancakes. I have been unable to find anywhere to buy the pancakes, though I think that doing crispy duck would be really easy, if you start with duck confit. 

But this isn’t about duck, it is about pork. Over the last year or so I have heard a lot about Pulled Pork, but had never tried it. Then last week, there was a special pork promotion on and I bought a pack of two boned and rolled pork shoulders for a bargain price. 

Chinese Pancakes with Pulled Pork Chinese Pancakes with Pulled Pork

Turning to my frequent source of good ideas and inspiration, the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet Recipes from Around the World group on Facebook, I found a recommended recipe for Pulled Pork. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, with a little less sugar, although I was really worried that it was going to be too much smoky paprika flavour (it wasn’t).

I marinaded the pork overnight in spices. The next day I baked both the joints for 5 hours. Then I finished one of them off on the BBQ.

That first night we had it in a baguette (a treat in itself for us these days), with home made cole slaw alongside. It was really lovely. Graham said “this is very much like Crispy Duck, can we have it again but with pancakes, cucumber and spring onions?”.

So the next step was to see if I could find a good straightforward recipe for the pancakes. I had always imagined that they were made from rice flour, but no, just a very simple recipe using plain flour, water and a small amount of vegetable oil. The master stroke was in rolling two at a time, with a coating of sesame oil between them, then dry frying them as one and separating after cooking. It worked really well. A final steam for 10 minutes before serving. Here’s the recipe and method for Chinese Pancakes.

The Hoisin Sauce was based on some Black Bean and Garlic paste that needed using up (if you want to find ingredients like that in South West France, try Paris Store in Toulouse). I started with this recipe (but note I didn’t use that recipe for the pancakes and I used a lot less sugar in the sauce).

So our Saturday night Strictly supper on our laps, was Crispy Pork Pancakes. So good, we did it all again on Sunday….. 🙂

Kefta kebabs – 135 kcals each

Kofte kebabskefta, kofta, kufta, keftedes, albondigas, meatballs…. I put a recipe for Scandinavian meatballs in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, with a number of variations. This summer I have been making it as kefta kebabs, with Moroccan-inspired spices, which have proved to be hugely popular. Combining beef and pork helps to keep the cost down and they taste delicious. I find that one is enough for me on a fast day.  Really good served with a tomato and cucumber salad topped with toasted cumin seeds, or stuffed into pita bread with chopped lettuce, some luscious sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and tsatsiki.

I love basic recipes like this which can be easily varied to suit different styles of cooking –

  • Italian meatballs – oregano, lemon rind, black pepper;
    serve with a tomato and basil sauce on a pile of spaghetti or courgette ‘noodles’
  • Greek keftedes – garlic, chopped fresh mint, coriander seed;
    serve as part of a meze, or stuffed into pita with tsatsiki and salad
  • Swedish meatballs – cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg;
    serve with a sauce made with butter, flour, cream, pepper and parsley with mash
  • Moroccan kefta – garlic, cumin, paprika, ras al hanout, coriander seed;
    serve with ginger yogurt dip, tomato, cucumber and cumin salad and couscous
  • Spanish albondigas – garlic, nutmeg;
    serve with a chunky onion, green pepper and tomato sauce and saffron rice
  • Indian kofta – curry spices, garlic, ginger;
    serve with raita and chappati or a spicy sauce with basmati rice
  • Lebanese kefta – parsley, allspice, pepper, salt;
    serve with flatbread and herby green salad – or cook and then top with onion, tomato and potato, sprinkle with spices and bake in the oven

The kefta or meatballs can be frozen uncooked.

Makes about 18 kefta (75 grams each) or 40 meatballs  (30 grams each)

  • 600g minced beef 1115 kcals
  • 400g minced pork 572 kcals
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped 88 kcals
  • 2 large eggs 143 kcals
  • 1 cup of flour or fresh breadcrumbs 427 kcals ( I use wholewheat breadcrumbs)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • spices and herbs to taste

Whizz the onions and eggs in a blender (with garlic if using) and then add the flour/breadcrumbs, seasoning and spices.

Put this mixture with the meat in a large bowl and work it with your hands, adding water if needed to get a firm mixture that holds together.

Let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.

For the kefta I weigh into 75 gram amounts and form into rolls. Use a walnut sized portion for meatballs. Either can be prepared ahead and refrigerated or frozen (defrost before cooking).

For kefta, put a metal skewer through the middle and BBQ over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly.

For meatballs, fry in a little butter or oil until well browned all over (add 40 calories per tsp of oil)

Per kefta (75 grams): 135 kcal
Per meatball (30 grams): 60 kcal

 

Baked Chicken and Vegetables <500 calories

I love the idea of cooking everything at the same time in a single oven tray. So simple!

The chicken is ‘washed’ with lime juice and then sprinkled with jerk spice. The mushrooms have a little olive oil in the centre and about half a clove of crushed garlic in each one. The sprouts are drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180c (fan). Roasting sprouts like this is really a great way of cooking them. I have just a few left growing in the garden, so I’m looking forward to finishing them!

This was a non-fast day for us and I served it with baked sweet potato and a knob of butter (put a skewer through the middle to help them cook more quickly. I gave them about 45 minutes).

Baked Chicken and Vegetables

Baked Chicken and Vegetables 469 kcals

 

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken leg,  eaten without the skin: 250 kcal
  • 1 tsp jerk seasoning 0 kcals
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
  • 2 medium mushrooms 8 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic 4 kcals
  • 5 cherry tomatoes 14 kcals
  • 1/2 cup brussels sprouts 19 kcals

Per serving: 469 kcals
 Carbs 8g Fat 26g Protein 49g

  • 1 sweet potato 100 kcals
  • 15g butter 108 kcals

Per serving: 208 kcals
Carbs 24g Fat 12g Protein 2g

Spanish style Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean – 370 kcals

Over on the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World group on Facebook, there is a Spanish theme going on. So this week I thought I would share one of my Spanish-inspired recipes.  

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Key flavour ingredients are the lovely smoked paprika and a little robust flavoured chorizo. You can use other beans instead, but I am particularly fond of these, so big and soft and buttery. I buy them ready to use in glass jars. If using dried beans, you will need to soak them overnight, then drain and put in a pan, cover with fresh water, add some herbs like bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

The addition of the beans and chorizo makes this a substantial dish with robust Spanish flavourings.

Serves 2

  • 300g chicken breast fillet 330 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 4 kcals
  • 30g chorizo 105 kcals
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 9 kcals
  • 150g courgettes, sliced 30 kcals
  • 200g tomatoes, peeled and chopped 76 kcals
  • 120g cooked butter beans 97 kcals
  • 2 tsp olive oil 84 kcals

To garnish

  • Some chopped coriander or flat parsley leaves

Trim the chicken breast and sprinkle all over with the smoked paprika.

Peel the skin off the chorizo and cut into slices.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the chicken and chorizo, turning and frying until the chicken is sealed on all sides and the chorizo is starting to release oil.

Add the garlic and courgettes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and butter beans and add a couple of tablespoonfuls of water.

Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

This looks good served in a cazuela, a flat earthenware dish used extensively in Spain.

Per serving: kcals 368
Carbs 19g Fat 11g Protein 45g

This is on Page 122 of 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Serve with Cauliflower and Caper Salad (page 42) 73 kcals Cauliflower and Caper Salad 
and Cabbage, Green Pepper and Raisin Salad (click on the link or look on page 50) 70 kcals 

Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Saladwhich works out to just slightly over 500  (adjust portions slightly for 500/600), or simply with Cauliflower Rice (page 84) at only 25 kcals for 100 grams.

 

 

Something for the weekend – Baked Citrus Chicken

This is a super way of cooking chicken and a perfect winter warmer or family meal, that is low enough in calories to have on a Fast Day! All you need to add is some steamed green beans and carrots and some wilted spinach. This has become a firm favourite since I first cooked it last February and is now my preferred way of cooking a whole chicken. The citrus-flavoured gravy is delicious.

This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnips and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken

The idea here is to have the enjoyment of a roast chicken, but by using citrus juice instead of fat, the whole meal is lighter and healthier. When there are just the 2 of us for lunch, I can get several meals from an average sized bird, and then there is the carcass to make stock with for a tasty soup and leftovers to have with salad. A great alternative to a traditional Sunday Roast!

Serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken (1.5kg) 917 kcals
  • 2 oranges 40 kcals
  • 1 lime 20 kcals
  • 500g pumpkin or butternut squash 170 kcals
  • 1 med-large (200g) parsnip 150 kcals
  • 1 red bell pepper 37 kcals
  • 1 red onion 44 kcals
  • 1 red chilli 6 kcals
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp Bisto gravy powder (optional) 5 kcals
  • 300 ml vegetable stock or water

Heat the oven to 180C (fan).

Remove any visible fat from the chicken.

Peel the pumpkin or squash, the parsnip and the red onion. Trim the pepper and chilli and remove the seeds and pith. Cut all the veggies into wedges and put into a roasting tray.

Make slivers from some of the orange and lime peel (no pith) and reserve.

Lightly grate the remainder over the veggies.

Squeeze the juice of the fruits and pour half over the veggies.

Put the chicken on top and brush the remainder of the juice over, then rub in the jerk seasoning.

Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through, basting regularly with the juice.

Put the chicken to rest on a warm serving plate and keep the veggies warm while you make the gravy.

If there is any visible fat in the pan juices, strain it off.

Add stock or water to the pan together with the orange and lime rind.

I like to use a little Bisto mixed with water to make the gravy a little thicker, but it will have a good colour anyway from the jerk spices.

Bring to the boil and simmer for few minutes whilst steaming other veggies to serve with it.

Serve slices or portions of meat without skin, the wonderful coloured vegetables alongside and gravy with some of the peel to bring the whole dish together.

You could use sweet potato or beetroot instead of parsnip.

Based on a recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookery club book “Healthy Eating”, 1995.

Per serving: 349 kcals
Carbs 30g Fat 9g Protein 38g

Serve with steamed vegetables such as julienne carrots, broccoli spears and peas.

a great alternative to a Sunday Roast - Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Fast Day Stuffed Chicken Breast Dinner <350 calories

Mushrooms, garlic and Serrano ham turn a simple chicken breast into a very tasty fast day dinner. 

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

I usually aim for about 100g of chicken for me and a larger portion of about 140g for him.

I had thought of adding a light creamy sauce with chives, but it was pouring with rain and I didn’t want to go out into the garden to pick the chives, so I used a little pesto instead.

Wrapping the chicken in ham and then in foil helps to keep it nice and moist during cooking.

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast
Serves 1
Mushrooms, Garlic and Serrano Ham transform a simple chicken breast into a tasty dinner for a 5:2 fast day
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 100g chicken breast
  2. 2 medium mushrooms, chopped small
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp olive oil
  5. pinch ground cumin
  6. 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  7. sea salt
  8. freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 tsp pesto
  10. 1 slice Serrano Ham, trimmed of fat
To serve
  1. 4 asparagus spears
  2. 1/2 medium carrot
  3. A few broad beans, podded
  4. 50g cauliflower florets
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 180c
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently saute the garlic for a minute or so and then add the mushrooms.
  3. Stir fry until the mushrooms are just cooked and starting to release their moisture.
  4. Remove from the heat and season with cumin, coriander leaf and pepper to taste (I don't add any salt, but you might wish to).
  5. Trim the chicken breast to the required size and remove any fat.
  6. Cut a diagonal slice into the thickest part of the flesh, without cutting all the way through, to make a pocket.
  7. Stuff the mushroom filling into the pocket and then wrap the parma ham around the chicken to help hold it together.
  8. I used a little pesto underneath the ham as additional flavouring, but if you are going to have a sauce with it, you could go without that.
  9. Wrap in foil, place on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, boil the broad beans and until tender, then drain and peel them, unless they are tiny.
  11. Boil the cauliflower until tender, steam the asparagus and carrots over the top, then mash the cauliflower (add a little fromage frais or milk powder to enrich it if you like, or butter on a non-fast day).
  12. Unwrap the chicken and serve. I made a little jus by adding some of the cauliflower water to the residue left in the foil.
Notes
  1. Adjust your chicken portion according to your available calories or appetite! With 140g of chicken, the meal comes to 412 calories.
  2. You can use Parma Ham or Bayonne Ham instead of Serrano.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli

I love Mexican flavours –  what an excellent excuse to add a good grating of dark chocolate to your food! 

Turkey Chilli

I used lean turkey, but you could use soya mince or quorn for a veggie version.

Serve with guacamole (1/2 serving – 43 kcals), low fat fromage frais or yogurt (1/4 pot -14 kcals), a little grated strong flavoured cheese – like Cheddar or Red Leicester (5g – 21 kcals), shredded lettuce , sliced spring onions , tomato salsa (1 tblsp – 5kcals) – and a few taco chips (20g – 100 kcals). Even with a small portion of brown rice (1/4 cup cooked, 54 kcals), this comes in at under 450 calories (as long as you stick to my portion sizes! Chaps can have more, of course). So this works for a Fast Day or any day of healthy eating to support weight loss.

I was lucky to be given a block of Willie’s 100% cocoa Venezuelan Black chocolate by some appreciative guests – a great ingredient and lasts for ages! A little dusting on a dessert is lovely but it is also very good in savoury dishes such as this. Just adds that little something, but hardly any calories. 

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli
Serves 4
Spicy and delicious chilli
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tblsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 175g lean turkey (or soya mince or quorn)
  5. 1/2 tsp Mexican chilli powder
  6. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  8. 200g peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  9. 400g can red kidney beans, drained
  10. 10g grated dark chocolate (100% cocoa if possible)
  11. 1 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. If using turkey, chop finely or mince in a food processor.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic until soft and golden.
  3. Add the turkey or vegetarian alternative and stir-fry until lightly coloured all over.
  4. Add the spices and mix well.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer.
  6. Check the seasoning.
  7. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to stop it getting too dry.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and grate over the chocolate and garnish with chopped coriander.
Notes
  1. Serve with shredded lettuce, grated strong cheese, sliced spring onion, tomato salsa, guacamole, low fat fromage frais (or sour cream if you have calories to spare...) and a few taco chips.
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