Week 3 Meal Plan

Fig and Almond Tart

This week I am planning on using cherries and figs from the freezer, as we have lots of them. I’m hoping that defrosted figs will work well in this delicious Fig and Almond tart! If we didn’t have our own produce to use up, then I would be choosing pears, oranges and pineapple for desserts, which are all good right now. You can find several recipes for those by looking through the Recipe Index in the menu bar.

Peppered Mackerel with Horseradish DressingLeek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps Green Bean and Tuna Salad with Feta

I picked up a bargain pack of free range chicken legs, plus I already had a plan to make a batch of meatballs to prepare in 3 different ways (Scandinavian, Italian and Greek style), so this week is more meat-orientated than last. But we will have some fish with salad for lunch on a couple of days, and I am planning to do one of my favourite things ever with leeks – Leek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps. I have a lot of Green Beans in the freezer, plus there is still some kale and cabbage to gather, so I don’t need to buy much in the way of green veg.

Spanakopitta and SaladSaganaki with Black Sesame Seeds and HoneyHazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava

Looking ahead to next weekend, I am planning a Greek inspired day. With so much talk of how good the Mediterranean diet is, I don’t need much of an excuse for making Spanakopitta, which makes a great lunch with some salad and can also make a wonderful fast day meal. 

It is hard to find the right sort of cheese to make Saganaki with in France, so we bought some Kefalotiri when we were last in England, which I keep in the freezer. You may have seen Rick Stein cooking this on his recent series “Venice to Istanbul“. He suggests using Halloumi, but that is equally hard to source here.  Sliced in half, dipped in semolina or flour and fried in olive oil, then drizzled with honey and sprinkled with black sesame seeds…. I remember having it with a fresh  tomato sauce in Piraeus, which adds a lovely splash of colour.

Scandinavian Meatballs Scandinavian MeatballsCabbage patch

We will follow it with Keftedes and Lemon-infused Greek style Roast Potatoes (I think my idea for this comes from Tessa Kiros’ book “Food from Many Greek Kitchens“). Alongside that I plan to serve some green vegetables, cooked in the style of Horta (Mountain Greens) – steamed or boiled shredded kale, cabbage and sprout tops, most likely, as that is what I can gather from the garden at the moment – the key thing is the addition of olive oil and lemon juice!

For dessert I will probably make Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava, but I have a recipe for Knafeh (from Olives, Lemons, Za’atar by Rawia Bishara) – the “shredded wheat” type of pastry that I would love to try. But where do you find katafeh dough (shredded filo) in France? Can I just chop up some filo? Hmm, more research needed here. The only thing missing will be the Retsina, as it will still be Dry January…

I’m planning to add the recipes for the Fig and Almond Tart and the Meatballs over the next few days, but the latter can be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, along with a number of the other ideas in this weeks meal plan.

Have a tasty and healthy week – and try and move more! Wrap up well and get out in the crisp winter air, it may not last long!

DayBreakfastLunchDinner
SundayBacon, Egg, Tomato, Sausage (brunch)Fresh Fruit*Chicken and Lemon Tagine, Carrot and Cumin Salad, Gingered Yogurt, Za'atar Flat Bread
Fig Tart Almandine
MondayFAST DAY-*Carrot and Coriander Soup (100)
*Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Trout (160 / 270)
Poached Figs with Greek Yogurt (170)
TuesdayYogurt with CherriesSmoked Mackerel Salad
Fresh Fruit
leftover Chicken Tagine with Cous Cous and Steamed Vegetables
leftover Fig Tart
WednesdayYogurt with Figs*Leek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps
Fresh Fruit
*Scandinavian Meatballs, Lingonberry Jam, Creamy Pepper Sauce, Mashed Swede, Green Beans
Cherry Cobbler
ThursdayFAST DAY-Courgetti with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (250 / 320)
*Poached Spiced Cherries with Fromage Blanc (100)
FridayWholewheat Toast with Almond ButterSeared Tuna and Green Beans à la Greque
Fresh Fruit
*Chicken with Saffron and Garlic, *Patatas Bravas, *Cabbage Green Pepper and Caraway Salad
leftover Cherry Cobbler
SaturdayBoiled Egg and Wholewheat Toast*Spanakopitta with Salad
Fresh Fruit
Saganaki with Black Sesame Seeds and Honey
*Keftedes, with Greek style Roast Potatoes and Mountain Greens
*Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava
* indicates recipes that are in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life
# recipes are in Focus on Flavour

First Weekly Meal Plan of 2016

Salmon stuffed with Pine Nuts and Herbs

Well we’ve just about used up all the leftovers from Christmas, but what I do have is some fabulous stock from boiling the gammon. So the first thing to go into my meal plan for this week is some soup – one of my all time favourites, Pea and Ham.
Sometimes I make it with frozen peas, but today I decided that I should make an effort to use some of the dried foods in my cupboard, so I am making it with dried Split Green Peas. There are a few scraps of gammon left to use up in it.  We have some oddments of cheese and I also have a jar of fabulous lemon curd (thank you Wyn!), which needs to be finished! So that explains Sunday….

CauliflowerAfter that, I am trying to focus mainly on vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, with small amounts of meat, fish and dairy. This is my take on a planet and people friendly diet! Our chickens are still laying, so there are eggs in my plan too. So nothing is excluded, but because we are keen to start the New Year with getting back into shape, we are keeping our calorie intake down and generally that means that meals are lower in carbs. Seasonally speaking, I have cauliflower, Swiss chard, various root vegetables, citrus fruits and pears. But I also have to remember that I have a lot of our own produce in the freezer, so we will use some raspberries this week. 

You will find many of the recipes are linked to from the table, others can be found in one or other of my books – and some are just ideas that will be worked on and photographed – and no doubt shared with you if they are worthy of repeating!

DayBreakfastLunchDinner
SundayBacon, Egg, TomatoLeftover Pizza with Mixed Salad.
Fresh Fruit
Pea & Ham Soup.
Cheeseboard with Pickles.
Lemon Curd Ice Cream with Amaretti Biscuits.
MondayFAST DAY-*Moroccan Cauliflower Soup (90).
*Salmon Stuffed with Pine Nuts and Herbs, Steamed Vegetables (240).
*Oranges with Pistachio Nuts and Chopped Dates (120).
TuesdayYogurt with PrunesPea and Ham Soup.
Raw Vegetable Salad.
Fresh Fruit.
*Spice-rubbed Pork Escalope with Fennel, *Cheesy-topped Sweet Potato,
Lemon Curd and Raspberry Filo Tart
WednesdayYogurt with RaspberriesPaté, *Celeriac Remoulade, Pickles, Melba Toast.
Fresh Fruit.
*Spiced Red Mullet with Coconut-Lime Sauce, Cranberry-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
Coconut and Passion Fruit Creme Brûlée
ThursdayPorridge with Raspberries (80)FAST DAY*Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin (200).
Fromage Blanc with Passion Fruit (90)
FridayWholewheat Toast with Almond ButterBacon and Eggs with Baked Beans.
Fresh Fruit.
Beetroot and Shallot Tarte Tatin with a *Warm Puy Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Soft Goat's Cheese.
*Pear with Amaretti Crumble.
SaturdayBoiled Egg and Wholewheat Toast*Home Made Pizza and Salad.
Fresh Fruit.
Courgette Crisps with Garlic Mayonnaise dip.
Tofu Burger with *Fennel and Radish Salad and *Pumpkin and Celeriac Galettes.
#Flourless Clementine Cake with Chocolate Orange Sauce.
* indicates recipes that are in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life
# recipes are in Focus on Flavour

 

A Fast Day Meal Plan, with porridge for breakfast

Winter TreeOn a chilly day, you might like to start a fast day with porridge, which is low-GI and can help keep you feeling full for a remarkably long time. Make the porridge using water and add a little soya or semi skimmed milk when serving, if you like – or have a chopped prune instead (20 calories per prune), which can be helpful for your digestive system.

Simple Vegetable Soup

I’ve included my Simple Vegetable Soup again, which is a fast day standby for me. I always have a packet of ready prepared chopped vegetables in the freezer, so it is a quick and easy soup to make when you are hungry, with 100g of vegetables, a tsp of stock powder and 250ml of water – bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes and whizz with a stick blender to vary the texture.  If you choose not to have breakfast, you could have a more substantial soup instead.

Smoked Haddock with Poached Egg and wilted Spinach

Again, main course is really simple and doesn’t take long to prepare, so this menu is ideal when you have had a busy day. You could use frozen fish and frozen spinach too, so as long as you have some fresh eggs, this is something that can be prepared entirely from what you have in store. No excuses!

Mocha Dessert

For dessert, it is easy to use fromage blanc or greek yogurt as the basis and vary the flavours with some simple additions. Here I have used the classic combo of coffee and chocolate, but you can experiment with different essences, fresh or dried fruits, snipped candied peel, chopped toasted nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon… lots of possibilities and it doesn’t take much to give it a bit of added zing. I find it helps to make a meal feel complete, and it doesn’t need any sugar (though I did add a little honey to the mocha dessert, as it can be helpful to getting a good night’s sleep after a fast day).

You’ll find the recipes for this dinner here or in my book, 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, which is available in kindle and print editions from Amazon worldwide.

Fast Day Menu with Breakfast and Dinner
Total Calories for the day 460/550
Breakfast
Make up your porridge using water
15 / 20g of Porridge Oats (55/70), with 50ml soya milk (20)
Dinner
Simple Vegetable Soup_MG_0303Mocha Dessert 105 kcals
Simple Vegetable Soup (70)Smoked Haddock with 1 or 2 Poached Eggs on a bed of Wilted Spinach (210/285)Mocha Dessert (105)

Decluttering the Spice Shelf – mmm, tasty!

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Over the last few weeks I have worked my way through my fridge, freezer and store cupboards, figuring out what I have and putting together a plan each week to use up some of the things that have been in store for the longest. It’s working well and I’m saving lots of money (at least in the short term) – and trying out some new ideas.

Next, I approached the spice and herb shelf. Oh dear, it is groaning. I have over 50 jars! 

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An article by Marie Kondo, Japanese tidiness expert, led me to approach my spice shelf with a new perspective. See 10 steps to make you more tidy now.

Each jar was looked at – do I love it? Does it bring me joy?

Out went anything that was really old, flavourless or unappealing, including some dried rosemary – I have fresh growing in the garden, all year round, so why bother?

Of the remaining spices, mixes and herbs, there were only two that I wasn’t sure about, juniper and fenugreek seeds.

The juniper must have been bought for something specific, but I have forgotten what. I tried using some at Christmas with cranberries, but the flavour was far too strong.

The fenugreek seeds are something that I occasionally use for sprouting; they have a bitterness and a distinct curry aroma, that can make an interesting addition to a salad or as a garnish.

I got some wonderful suggestions from the lovely members of the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World group (a real mouthful in more ways than one!)

  • Juniper as a partner for game, such as venison or wild boar.
  • mmmmmmm a chopped shallot soup with thyme, juniper, garlic and bay leaf…
  • a rub for pork, using salt, dried rosemary and juniper (damn! retrieve the dried rosemary 🙂 )
  • Juniper berries for braised red cabbage

and I found some interesting recipes on line:

I am encouraged to try growing my own, as fenugreek, also known as ‘methi’, is used widely as a herb in Indian recipes. An interesting addition to my micro leaves selection!

So, with spices in mind, what am I cooking this week?

I bought a whole free range chicken, which I jointed. I made the breasts into Butter Chicken, following a Rick Stein recipe, which was succulent and absolutely delicious. The joints are marinading in spices and yogurt. I will dry bake them in a hot oven for our fast day dinner, with leftovers for lunch another day. 

Having thrown out my old garam masala, I had no alternative but to make my own. In a hot dry pan, I roasted some cumin, cardamom and coriander seeds with cinnamon bark. I added peppercorns, fenugreek, salt and chilli powder and pounded all together in my pestle and mortar. Mmmm, wonderful aromas! This became an ingredient in the sauce for the Butter Chicken as well as a garnish for the dhal. It should keep well for at least a month.

The chicken carcass has made a lovely asian-flavoured stock, with star anise, chillies, peppercorns and lime leaves, and the tops of some fresh leeks – I have retrieved a surprising amount of meat from the bones, and with the stock this will make a wonderful soup, with the addition of some finely sliced mushrooms.

Hot and Sour Chicken and Mushroom Soup

My ‘treat’ purchases this week – a small whole camembert: bake until melted, then dip into with toasted pita bread; and a basket of small pears.

Sat lunch: Pizza and Salad; fresh fruit
Dinner: Butter Chicken with Naan and Red Lentil Dhal; Ice Cream

Sun lunch: leftover Pizza with Salad; fresh fruit
Dinner: Roast Rib of Beef, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, Carrots and Peas; Cinnamon-spiced Cherries topped with an Oat Crumble with chopped Hazelnuts

Mon Fast Day: Spicy Chicken and Mushroom Broth; Tandoori Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and Dhal; sliced Oranges with Dates and Pistachios

Tue lunch: Thai Style Roast Beef Salad with roasted Peanuts and a vietnamese dressing; fresh fruit
Dinner: Toulouse Sausages with Potato and Celeriac Bake; Fig Frangipani tart with custard

Wed lunch: French Onion Soup; Coronation Chicken Salad; fresh fruit
Dinner: Black Bean and Sausage Burritos; leftover Fig Frangipani tart with yogurt

_MG_3080

Thurs, fast day: Morrocan Cauliflower Soup; Salmon Teriyaki with Leeks and Mushrooms; Spiced Poached Cherries with Yogurt

Teriyaki Salmon

Fri lunch: Egg Mayonnaise Salad; fresh fruit
dinner: Baked Camembert with Pitta crisps;  Red Mullet with Coconut-Lime sauce, spiced puy lentil salad, Pears with Chocolate Meringue topping

Pear with Chocolate Meringue   

 Plenty of lovely meals to look forward to, and a spice cupboard in which I can almost find what I am looking for… still over-crowded, but at least I know what’s in there.

Anyone got any ideas for using dried rosebuds?

 

Meal Plan – Mad as a March Hare!

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Mad as March Hare? Well maybe not that crazy, my efforts to work my way through stores are going well and saving us money in the short term. It’s good to have space in the freezer for when there are special offers, or home grown produce to take advantage of.  

I did quite well at following my last plan, and it also saved a lot of effort, so I’m encouraged to continue. I still have a lovely assortment of things to use up from my freezer and store cupboards, and it means I can splash out on a really good piece of meat or a nice bottle of wine for Saturday night. All I have to buy apart from that is some more salad and fresh fruit and some yogurts and fromage blanc. I’m looking forward to making buckwheat burgers, I haven’t done them for years! I should have thought of them when the weather was really cold, they are great for warming you up from within. But I think they will be great for a fast day.  

So little in my shopping trolley this week! My treat is a bag of pink Brittany onions, which immediately say ‘French Onion Soup’..  so I bought some Comté cheese as well 🙂 Ah well, that leaves a ready made soup in the freezer for a busy day in future.

I’ll be taking photos as I go along, and if there are any winners, will be writing up the recipes to publish here or in my next book….

Mon, fast day: ; Butternut Squash stuffed with Mushrooms and Walnuts (leftover from Sunday), Plum Kulfi with toasted pistachios
recipe for Plum Kulfi in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Tues lunch: Wild Mushroom Omelette with Fennel and Radish salad; fresh fruit
dinner: Boston baked Borlotti Beans with FrankfurtersFrench Apple Tart with custard

Wed lunch:  Griddled Halloumi, Hummus, Pita Bread, Spanakopitta and salad; fresh fruit
dinner: Marmalade Glazed Tofu with Sesame Seeds, Stir Fried Veg, Carmargue Rce; leftover apple tart
recipe for Hummus, Pita Bread and Spanakopitta in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Thurs fast day: Miso soup with Wakame and Tofu; Buckwheat Burgers with veg stir fry; Poached Cherries with Cinnamon

Fri lunch: French Onion Soup;  fresh fruit
recipe for French Onion Soup in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life
dinner: Corn Spaghetti with Salmon, Chillies and Sundried Tomatoes; Cherries topped with Oat and Sunflower Seed Crumble

Sat lunch: oh well, probably Pizza as usual, we love it! with salad and followed by fruit
dinner:  Steak with Peppercorn Sauce, Garlic Mushrooms and Oven Fries; Bread and Butter pudding with Red and White Currants

Sun lunch: Citrus baked Chicken with Pumpkin and Peppers; leftover bread pudding
dinner: Mushrooms on Toast with Bacon; Fruit Salad
recipe for the Citrus Baked Chicken and the Mushrooms on Toast in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Weekly meal plan – Feb 23 – 30

I am determined to cycle through my freezer and store cupboards and use up some of the ingredients that are lurking and neglected. I seem to have a rather odd assortment of things, but plenty of frozen soup, dried beans and frozen fruits, so these will form the basis of our meals.  I must confess to being surprised at how long some things have been in my freezer and cupboards! I have thrown a few things out as being past their best, but mostly it has been very useful to remind myself of what is there so that I can include them in my plan, before they go the same way. We had a huge crop of cherries the year before last, so it is time to start using up more of those, to make way for this year’s harvest.

With dried beans, having a plan for the week ahead is great, as it helps remind me to get soaking the night before I need them. I have started to sprout some seeds and beans – alfalfa seeds, mung beans and puy lentils, so they should make a nice addition to salads towards the end of the week.

I have a tendency to keep things in my cupboard ‘in case’ I need them. But I am starting to resent the amount of space that is being taken up by things that I don’t use.  Sometimes it is just taking time to put the grey matter to use and come up with some ways of using less popular ingredients that will still be appealing.

I’ve also found that I have a lot of jam. We really don’t eat jam on toast at all, so I am going to have to come up with some ideas for using that without going overboard on sweetness.

From the looks of it, I really only need to shop for some fresh salad and fruit, all the other ingredients are already in stock. Another week that is going to be kind to our budget.

Breakfast on non fast days is either plain yogurt, wholewheat toast with almond butter or a boiled egg and toast.

Starting with Monday then

Monday, Fast Day: Roasted Tomato Soup, Warm Butter Bean, Halloumi and Beetroot Salad, Poached Cherries with Crunchy Oat and Cinnamon topping

Tuesday lunch: Roasted Tomato Soup with Ciabatta, Baked Goat’s Cheese on a bed of rocket with spiced walnuts and beetroot, Fresh Fruit.
dinner: Wholewheat Pasta Spirals with Salmon, Pumpkin and Chopped Chillies in an Oat Cream sauce, Pears with Chocolate Meringue Topping

Wednesday lunch: Mackerel, Hard boiled Egg, Anchovy, Capers, Flageolet Beans and Potato Salad in a mustard-y dressing, Fresh Fruit
dinner: Turkey Milanaise with Celeriac purée and Sauté Potatoes. Sliced Oranges with chopped Dates and Pistachio nuts

Thursday, fast day: Hake with Chorizo and Potatoes (Rick Stein recipe) or maybe Hake with a Masala crust (also based on a Rick Stein recipe).  Apple and Ginger Compote with Almond Cream Custard

Friday lunch: Pea and Ham Soup, Scrambled Egg on Toast, Fresh Fruit
dinner: Squash, Stilton and Quince Tart with steamed mixed vegetables. Cherry & Choc Chip Gelato

Satruday lunch: Pizza and Salad, Fresh Fruit
dinner: griddled HalloumiLamb Chops with a Herbed Crust, Skordalia, Beetroot and Jalapeño Salsa (recipes in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life), Bakewell Tart and cream

Sunday lunch: Pizza and Salad, Fresh Fruit
dinner: Stuffed Butternut Squash, Bakewell Tart and custard

Meal Planning

If you’ve been watching the recent TV series “Eat Well for Less” you may have noticed that having a meal plan is suggested as a good way of cutting down on your food bills – it is also a good way to avoid waste.  Checking my fridge before going shopping means that I can come up with ideas to use what is left over from last week and sometimes this drives new creative ideas too.  I don’t always create a strict plan for all meals, but I do find that having an idea for most of them really does help, it also saves me from reaching for an easy option from the freezer because I can’t think of what else to do.  I am still continually surprised by how much we don’t eat, not only because of having 2 fast days, but because our appetites are smaller than they used to be. So I am as bad as anyone for buying more than we need… Plus my freezer is groaning with home grown produce, leftovers and various bargain buys….

So, despite not having been shopping for nearly a week due to having a cold, today I have the following to use up:- ¾ of a pumpkin, some broccoli, a few carrots, a leek, ¼ red cabbage, some potatoes that are about to sprout, goats cheese, lardons, duck strips, smoked tuna, peppered mackerel, blue cheese, halloumi, half a pack of feta, tofu, a little chestnut puree, kiwi fruit, some nearly ripe pears, a coconut, some long-life pre-packed beetroot. I also have some cooked cherries and some leftovers from last night’s dinner. I hardly need to go shopping at all really, but we do need some fresh salad and fruit. I have to try and include eggs in my plan, as our chickens are producing 4 most days.  We will often have a boiled egg for breakfast.

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Here’s my plan.

Tues for lunch :  
Fennel, Grapefruit and Blue Cheese Salad (leftovers), Peppered Mackerel and  Horseradish yogurt dressing (see above). Fresh Fruit

The recipe for the salad is in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

dinner:
Thai style Mushroom Soup (leftovers)
Smoked Fish Tart with Orange Gremolata, Steamed Broccoli and Carrots.
Pancakes with Lemon and Maple Syrup

The quiche could be a crustless one, which would be excellent for a fast day, but as it’s a non-fast day, I will make some shortcrust pastry using half and half wholewheat and plain flour. The gremolata will be finely chopped parsley, capers, garlic and orange zest, with some virgin olive oil. I’ll use one of the blood oranges for this and use slices of orange for garnish. Recipe here

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Wed lunch: leftover Smoked Tuna Quiche. Green Salad. Fruit.
Out for dinner

butternut squash soupDSCF1767Thurs, Fast day: Spicy Pumpkin Soup (using leek)
Marinaded Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry with Cashew Nuts
Poached Cherries with Cinnamon-spiced Fromage Frais

 

 

 

I marinaded the tofu in garlic, ginger and tamari soy sauce. Damn! I forgot to add the cashew nuts!

 

 

 

Fri lunch : Omelette with Lardons, Onion and Potatoes
dinner: Duck, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry, with basmati rice
some kind of dessert using Eggs and Chestnut Puree…with some marrons glacé left from Xmas, maybe an ice cream or a soufflé. Update: Chestnut Meringue Tart, see below… – a triumph!

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I’m looking forward to dealing with the coconut. I will make coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes from the flesh – and drink the water as a treat!

Sat lunch: Homemade Pizza with Salad. Fresh Fruit
dinner: Steak Haché (from freezer) with Blue Cheese Sauce, Red Cabbage Slaw,  Oven Fries
Lime and Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut

Pizza

Sun lunch: leftover Pizza and Salad. Fresh Fruit.
dinner: leftover Duck Curry, with homemade Naan or Chapatti

Mon fast day: Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Warm Butter Bean, Halloumi and Beetroot Salad

So I managed to shop without buying anything off my list, which was mostly household items, salad and fresh fruit, plus topping for the pizza. My treats are a bag of small Pink apples and 4 blood oranges. If I’ve got it right, my fridge should be pretty empty by Tuesday!

Family-friendly dairy and soya free 5:2 meal plan

So excited to have our son and his family coming to stay! With our little grand-daughter having allergies to dairy and soya, I need to think ahead to make sure I have some tasty ideas for all of us to enjoy together. We are planning to continue with two fast days too. 

Thanks so much to everyone on the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World group who have contributed ideas!

It’s a fabulous time for fruit here, plus of course the summer vegetables which are beginning to be abundant.

Sunday:  family lunch for 8
Melon with charcuterie (air-dried ham, saucisson, coarse paté) and sun-dried tomatoes
Duck Confit pie, topped with sliced potato
Tomato and Cucumber salad, Carrot and Cumin salad
Strawberry Lavender Sorbet with fresh Peaches

dinner for 6
Baba Ganoush / Hummus / Crudites / Seedy Flatbread
Baked whole Salmon, with potatoes, green beans and garlicky courgettes. This will give us leftovers to make into fish cakes.
Creme Catalan au Lavande, made with almond or oat milk

Monday – fast day 
apple and peanut butter slices, Scrambled egg on toast for those that are having lunch

Chunky Vegetable Soup
Fish Cakes with Carrot and Courgette ribbons
Melon and Ginger Sorbet

Tuesday – picnic up at the lake where there is a beach
Sausage Rolls, Cole Slaw, Sweet Potato crisps, Ants on a Log
Rasberries and hopefully fresh Apricots from the garden
Forking Foodie: Chocolate Pecan Fudge and Cocoa Dusted Truffles

Onion Bhaji
Chicken Curry, Lentil Dhal, Chapatti (by special request)
Raspberry Marshmallow Mousse

Wednesday
lunch – out in Cahors (market day, carousel, little train, toy shop….)

Pulled Pork with an assortment of veggies
Apricot Frangipane Tart

Thursday – fast day
for those eating lunch: Pulled Pork wraps 
Frozen Banania lollies

Dips and breadsticks
BBQ Chicken Skewers/Sausages/ Sweetcorn/Courgettes with Boston Baked Beans 
Apple and Blackcurrant Compote with Nutty Crumble Topping

Friday
Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Garlic Breadsticks
Nectarines, Raspberries and Melon

Pasta with Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
Chocolate Mousse with raspberry wafers

Saturday 
Citrus Roast Chicken with Peppers and Sweet Potato
Garden Fruit Salad

Anniversary 5:2 Meal Plan

Anniversary? Yes, I’ve been maintaining my weight on 5:2 for a year today!

Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw Griddled Courgette Salad _MG_2492

 

 

 

 

 

I was so thrilled to achieve my healthy weight target (55kgs for me, which is somewhere in the middle of the normal BMI range for my height and age) let June, but I am even more delighted to have been able to stay there. I gave myself a 2 kg range to stay within (53 – 55) and in the last year I have not gone below the bottom, and only temporarily very slightly over (like when I have been away on holiday and not fasted for a week).

So I thought it would be of interest to show you a typical menu plan for a week, bearing in mind that I have a TDEE of about 1300 without exercise, so I don’t have a lot of calories to play with, but I certainly eat well and pretty much what I want.

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Ok here’s my meal plan for the next week. It’s BBQ weather! I still have lots of strawberries, the cherries are ripening, artichokes are ready and the shops are starting to be full of summer fruits. Recipes for dishes in bold text are included in  5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, those in italics are in Focus on Flavour. Some recipes are new and once I have cooked them again and calorie counted them, I will share them with you.

  1. Friday
    • Ham, Egg and Chips
    • fresh fruit
    • Spanakopitta – spinach and feta filo triangles (recipe here)
    • Lemony Lamb Kebabs with Wholewheat Pita  (recipe here) and Greek Salad with Feta and Olives 
    • Homemade Strawberry ice cream drizzled with strawberry coulis and sprinkled with strawberry dust from my latest thing, dehydrated strawberries
  2. Saturday
    • Thin Crust Wholewheat Ham and Chorizo Pizza with Green Salad with Seeds
    • fresh fruit
    • Spring Rolls (if I am able to buy fresh beanshoots, I will make them myself)
    • Chicken Satay with Satay Sauce, cucumber, spring onion and carrot ribbons and Beanshoot Salad. Maybe a little rice to go with it
    • Cheesecake in Chocolate Cups with Strawberries
  3. Sunday
    • Globe Artichoke hearts with lemon juice and melted butter
    • Leftover pizza and salad
    • fresh fruit
    •  Out for dinner
  4. Monday – Fast Day
    • Harira style Soup (vegetables in a spicy tomato based broth) 125
    • Harissa-rubbed Chicken breast with vegetable accompaniments  250
    • Poached Spiced Cherries with Fromage Frais – 100
  5. Tuesday
    • Peppered Mackerel with Avocado, Cherry and Walnut Salad and Minted Beetroot Salad
    • fresh fruit
    • BBQ Sweetcorn
    • Moroccan style Chicken Kebabs with Kachumber Salad drizzled with argan oil, Wholewheat Maneesh (seedy flatbread) and yogurt with ginger
    • Poached Spiced Cherries with filo sesame wafers
  6. Wednesday 
    • A picnic of Oven Baked Scotch Eggs,  Black Pepper Chicken Sticks with Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce and Light Coleslaw with Cherries
    • Strawberry Marshmallow Mousse
    • Chargrilled Courgette Salad (recipe here)
    • BBQ Toulouse Sausage with spicy Puy Lentil Salad
    • Cherry and Choc Chip Gelato
  7. Thursday – Fast Day
    • Italian Vegetable Soup – 124
    • Haddock in Saffron Sauce – 205 with cauliflower rice (recipe here)
    • Mocha Dessert – 87 with a few blueberries (recipe here)

Pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I usually start my day with two cups of tea (with soya milk as I don’t like dairy milk).
  • Breakfast on non-fast days is a plain yogurt with a few berries and one slice of wholewheat toast with almond butter and marmite; or two slices of toast. Black coffee. I don’t eat breakfast on fast days.
  • Mid morning on non-fast days I have a small capuccino made with soya milk. On fast days I have espresso.
  • Mid afternoon I have a herbal or ordinary tea.
  • While preparing dinner I have a glass of water kefir.
  • On non-fast days I do usually have wine.  As we often don’t eat dinner until 8pm or so, if I have a glass of wine before dinner, I will also have some nuts. At the weekend I enjoy having one or two pieces of dark chocolate after dinner, but I rarely think of chocolate these days!
  • I drink plenty of water and occasionally a glass of unsweetened lemon squash

I hope you have a great week! I’m looking forward to it…. 🙂

A Fast Day Menu for June

Lots of people ask what they should eat on Fast Days.

There are no restrictions as such, but it is helpful to stick to low-GI foods and avoid refined carbohydrates. Protein is great for making you feel full and keeping you satisfied and veggies provide lots of bulk without a lot of calories. So most of our fast days are based on that. I prefer to save all my calories for an evening meal – skipping breakfast seems to make no difference to how hungry I feel during the day, and I get the added benefits of an overall fasting time of about 24 hours without eating – more cell repair time and more fat-burning time!

I get into a bit of a rut sometimes, eating more or less the same things which are quick to prepare and I know work – but I have lots of ideas in my recipe book and a lot of strawberries to use, so here’s what I’m planning for tomorrow.

  • Spring Minestrone – 150 kcals 
  • Masala Baked Haddock – 162 kcals
  • Kachumber Salad – 45 kcals
  • Strawberries with a spoonful of creme fraiche – 60 kcals

Spring Minestrone SoupMasala Baked HaddockKachumber Salad

 

 

There’s enough calories left for a cup of tea to start the day and a cup of hot bouillon somewhere around lunchtime.  I may add a drizzle of argan oil to the salad, since I brought some back from Morocco, it is a great addition to this. Recipes below, which can also be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life.

Spring Minestrone

For me, broad beans and asparagus are star ingredients when they are in season.  Just a spoonful of crème fraîche and some basil oil gives this soup some extra va va voom and transforms a simple vegetable soup into something luxurious.

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
  • 1 leek, chopped quite small 56 kcals
  • 1 litre vegetable stock, made with 2 tsp vegetable bouillon 24 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 4 kcals
  • 250g green asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1cm slices 52 kcals
  • 250g shelled broad beans 212 kcals
  • 1 tbsp half fat crème fraîche 24 kcals
  • 1 tsp basil oil (or pesto) 16 kcals

To garnish

  • 25g freshly grated Parmesan 80 kcals

Heat olive oil and cook leek gently until soft.

Add stock and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add remaining vegetables and simmer for a further 5 – 7 minutes.

Stir in crème fraîche and pesto.

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Per serving: kcals 150
Carbs 14g Fat 7g Protein 10g

Masala Baked Haddock

I came across this idea when watching Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. The first time I tried it I found it far too mustardy and bitter, but the idea of coating a piece of white fish with a masala paste and topping it with onions, then wrapping it in foil or baking paper to cook in the oven won me over. So I have now adapted it and am much happier with the result.

You can make the masala paste in a blender or you can pound it in a pestle and mortar.

This will be good with any firm white fish.

Serves 2

  • 250g haddock or cod fillets 200 kcals
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • Some red or green chilli, sliced (optional)

For the Masala

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds 16 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 4 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder 2 kcals
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil 80 kcals
  • 1/2 onion, sliced 22 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 4 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 4 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry all the masala ingredients until the onions soften and start to colour, adding a splash of water if needed to stop it sticking.

Blend into a paste, using a food processor or pestle and mortar.

Put the fish in the centre of a piece of foil or baking paper and smother with the paste.

Top with some slices of red onion and maybe a few slices of red or green chilli.

Wrap the parcels and fold over the edges securely.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets, until just cooked through.

Per serving: kcals 162
Carbs 4g Fat 5g Protein 24g

Kachumber Salad

This is the perfect salad to go with spicy Indian style food and introduces the idea of adding spice seeds to enhance everyday ingredients. This goes perfectly with the Masala Baked Haddock (page 94).

Serves 2

  • 100g baby plum tomatoes, halved or quartered 22 kcals
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced 22 kcals
  • 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and sliced 22 kcals
  • 1/2 lime, juice only 5 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed 4 kcals
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • sea salt

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan, shaking frequently, until they become fragrant but before they burn.

While the seeds cool, arrange the vegetables on a serving dish.

Crumble a little sea salt over the top and scatter the seeds and coriander leaf over.

Per serving: kcals 45
Carbs 11g Fat 0g Protein 1g