5:2 Meal Plan – a springtime Mediterranean meander

As usual I have more ideas than days in the week! I’m still much inspired by Meditteranean flavours, from Morocco to the Middle East

I have a little more rhubarb to harvest and am expecting to find better asparagus this week. Not sure what else my trip to the market will bring, hopefully some broad beans….

Rhubarb

Saturday – a Middle Eastern evening

Paul Hollywood’s flatbread and the recipe that John Torode cooked on Masterchef this week looked great, so we will have a middle-eastern inspired evening

  • Baba Ganoush with Sesame Flatbread
  • Lamb Cutlets with Skordalia and a Beetroot and Jalapeno relish
  • Honey and Walnut Ice Cream, with Apple and Quince Filo wafers

 

Sunday – leave room for the chocolate!

  • Asparagus with shaved Parmesan 
  • Spatchcocked Herby Chicken with Spring Vegetables
  • Apple and Blackberry Filo cups

Broad BeansMonday – Fast Day

  • Scrambled Egg
  • fresh Asparagus and Lemon soup
  • Light Chicken Caesar Salad (using leftover chicken) 
  • Rhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard 

Swiss Chard 

Tuesday – Seasonal Treats

  • Fennel and Citrus salad with Sheep’s Cheese
  • Smoked Mackerel with Horseradish dressing, with Broad Bean and Lentil salad
  • Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue pots (using leftover rhubarb)

 

 

 

CarrotsWednesday – Morrocan spicing to the fore

  • Asparagus and Chickpea Salad
  • Chicken Tagine with preserved Lemons and Green Olives, Herbed Cous-cous
  • Plum and Almond Frangipane

Thursday – Fast Day Italiano

  • Scrambled Egg with Parma Ham 
  • Spring Minestrone Soup 
  • Baked Fish and Vegetables with Gremolata
  • Raspberry Pannacotta

Asparagus

 

Friday – exploring the Maghreb

  • Sweet Potato and Ginger Brik parcels
  • Moroccan Meatballs with Minted Bulgur Wheat
  • Cumin and Coriander Carrot Salad
  • Sliced Oranges with Dates and Pistachios
 
I’ve now updated last week’s meal plan with photos and calorie counts – do take a look, it was a really yummy and delicious menu  – if we can eat like that and still lose weight, then it looks like we really can stick with this way of life. I certainly feel that way and don’t ever want to see those 9 kilos again, thank you! Bye-bye, you’re no longer needed 🙂
 
Great news this week, that Kate Harrison is going to include one of my recipes in her new 5:2 Diet Recipe book. It should be published in the next couple of months. More news and link once available. 

Goat’s Cheese Toasts with Baked Beetroot and Spiced Walnuts

“Ooh that was lovely, what was it?” “Beetroot” “Oh, I never liked beetroot…..” 

Baked baby Beetroot with Spiced Walnuts and Goats Cheese

I used to make this recipe with fresh baby beetroot, which is good. But this time I made it with pre-cooked packaged organic beetroot, which has a long life in the fridge when unopened. As they were already soft, the baking made them caramelised and appealing enough to convert a hardened beetroot-disliker.

Goats Cheese Toasts with Baked Beetroot and Spiced Walnuts

Baked beetroot, coupled with the melted goats cheese on half a slice of wholewheat toast, served on a bed of rocket, drizzled with a dark balsamic and walnut dressing, and finished off with slightly sweet and spicy walnuts, this is a great combination of flavours. Makes a great starter, but could equally be a light lunch or supper dish.  If you wish to avoid bread, then make a bigger pile of salad as the base for the goat’s cheese.

Cabecou

In our region they produce small rounds of goat’s cheese, known locally as Cabecou, but often also sold under the name of Rocamadour, one of the most visited places in all of France.  In the Spring, when the grass is lush and the young kids have been weaned, the cabecou are at their freshest and lightest in flavour. Left to mature the cheese becomes denser and stronger flavoured. Eventually it will become a hard cheese, that can be grated like parmesan. 

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Spiced Red Mullet, Coconut-Lime Sauce, Puy Lentil Salad < 400 kcals

I love these little fish which have such pretty pink skin and a lovely flavour and texture. I buy them frozen and defrost before using.

Red Mullet with Coconut Lime Sauce and Puy Lentil Salad

This is a good recipe for entertaining, as the salad can be prepared ahead of time and the fish are quick to cook. Being less than 400 calories per serving, this could equally find its place as the centre piece of a fast day.

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Light Entertainment ~

Had a lovely dinner with friends last night. I won’t know the calories until I get the recipes written up in detail, but this is healthy eating with great flavour and a perfect way to celebrate seasonal foods.

Spring vegetables with sesame crisp

Spring Vegetables with Sesame Crisp
Fresh lightly cooked broad beans and petit pois, combined with cucumber, apple and bean shoots. Dressed with tamari soy sauce, lemon juice and toasted sesame oil and topped with a wafers of filo pastry and sesame seeds.

 

Red Mullet with Coconut Lime Sauce and Puy Lentil Salad

Red Mullet with Coconut-Lime Sauce and a Puy Lentil Salad
The fish is dusted with curry-spiced flour and pan fried in a little butter. The pan is deglazed with light coconut milk, spices and raisins. The puy lentils are tossed in lime juice, mint and chilli, with red onion, red pepper, tomato and apple.

 

Rhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard

Rhubarb-Orange-Honey Compote with Cardamom Custard
I used my beautiful home grown forced rhubarb, which I baked with orange juice and zest and a little honey. Surrounded with a delicate, lightly sweetened soya custard aromatised with cardamom and vanilla.

 

I’m really enjoying the fact that we can eat like this whilst losing weight! 

5:2 Mediterranean Meal Plan for week 11

Now updated with photos and calorie counts.


Swiss ChardContinuing my tour of light and healthy Mediterranean cuisine this week, with influences from France, Morocco and Italy, but adding in a little inspiration from elsewhere to spice it up a bit.

I’ll be aiming to use asparagus and rhubarb as key seasonal ingredients. At the market this morning, I also bagged a lovely bunch of watercress, some Swiss chard and a very healthy looking bunch of pale and interesting carrots.

Behind the carrots are some early globe artichokes – my favourite way of eating these is with loads of butter, so I’d better find a more healthy recipe before I add those to my meal plan!

A few less dishes on this plan – I am finding that we often have left-overs to use up, as I am still buying and cooking more than we are actually eating!  

Rainbow Carrots

This is week 11 for us on our 5:2 diet. I am over 2/3 of the way to my target healthy weight now, having lost 8.7 kg (19lbs), which is absolutely brilliant. My husband meanwhile has lost nearly 15 kg and has revealed that there was a six pack there, all along… 🙂

So this week we’ll do another 2 fast days and the rest of the time we’re keeping light on the carbs, so as not to lose momentum – but there are plenty of delicious treats along the way, as I focus on flavour and make light but tasty versions of some of our favourite dishes to share with you.

 

Spring vegetables with sesame crispRed Mullet with Coconut Lime Sauce and Puy Lentil SaladRhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard

Saturday: dinner for friends ~ 550 kcals

  • Cucumber, Broad Bean, Pea and Apple Salad with Sesame Filo Crisps
  • Red Mullet with Coconut Lime sauce, Puy Lentil salad and Watercress Salad
  • Rhubarb and Orange Compote with Cardamom Custard

Sticky Marmalade Duck with Celeriac Mash and Red Onion ConfitAsparagus, Comté and Mustard Pockets
 

 

 

 

Sunday: local specialities and home grown rhubarb

  • Asparagus Filo Pastries with Grainy Mustard and Gruyere ~100 kcals
  • Sticky Marmalade Duck with Celeriac Mash, Red Onion Confit and Swiss Chard ~310 kcals
  • Fromage Blanc with Apple and Ginger ~ 120 kcals

Carrot and Cumin Salad  Baked Fish with a Mustard Masala Plum Kulfi

Monday ~ Fast Day with an Indian kick

  • Scrambled Egg with Smoked Trout ~ 130 kcals
  • Watercress Soup ~60 kcals
  • Carrot and Cumin Salad ~40 kcals
  • Fish with a Mustard Masala, served with Kachumber Salad ~200 kcals
  • Plum Kulfi ~50 kcals

Spring Minestrone Soup Turkey Saltimbocca with Celeriac and Chard RostiBeetroot and Chocolate Cake

Tuesday: Italian day

  • Summer Minestrone Soup ~100 kcals
  • Turkey Saltimbocca alla Romana with a Muscat Jus, served with Celeriac and Swiss Chard Rosti ~230 kcals
  • Beetroot and Chocolate Cake (1/2 serving) ~112 kcals

Chicory and Mushroom SaladCod with Tomato and ChorizoBlood Oranges with Dates and Pistachios

Wednesday: Moorish influences

  • Chicory and Mushroom Salad
  • Cod with Tomato and Chorizo Sauce, served with Grean Beans and French Fries
  • Sliced Blood Oranges with Dates and Pistachio

Simple Vegetable SoupStuffed Salmon Fillet with Steamed VegetablesFruity Tiramisu

Thursday ~ Fast Day Italian style

  • Vegetable Soup ~60 kcals
  • Stuffed Salmon Fillet with steamed vegetables ~225 kcals
  • Fruity Tiramisu ~120 kcals

 Baked baby Beetroot with Spiced Walnuts and Goats Cheese_MG_0918_MG_0928

 
Friday: a Moroccan menu with a Mexican twist

  • Baby Beetroot Salad with Spiced Walnuts and Goats Cheese ~235 kcals
  • Merguez Sausages with Cous-cous, Ginger Yogurt , Baked Butter Beans with Spinach and Carrot Salad ~225 kcals
  • Mojito Cheesecake ~175 kcals

As I go through the week, I’ll be checking my recipes and calorie-counting them, putting some of them up here on my blog. I’m also working towards my 5:2 recipe book…..

 

Pear with Chocolate Meringue Topping

Soft sharp pear contrasts wonderfully with a sweet, nutty chocolate meringue topping, less than 150 calories per serving – or if you make mini ramekins, only 60 – 75 calories each, depending on the size and sweetness of the pears.

Pear with Chocolate Meringue Topping

The idea for this dish came from BBC Good Food, where it is called Chocolate Pear Crisp.  But their recipe had way too much sugar for my taste, so I radically changed it.

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Haddock in a Saffron Sauce

If you like the Spanish flavours of Saffron and Garlic, I’m sure you will enjoy this way of cooking fish. 

Fish in Saffron Sauce

This recipe is based on one in Tapas, the little dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas, where she used Swordfish or Shark – but these are off the list of acceptable fish to use these days. I used Haddock, but it would be equally good with Cod or Halibut or a firm meaty fish like Tuna (as long as it was caught by pole and line). If you want more information about which fish are ok to eat and which aren’t, please download Fish to Eat and Fish to Avoid  or get the Fish Fight App.

The lovely golden colour of the finished dish is not entirely due to saffron – I used some frozen tomato flesh, of a home-grown variety called Amish Gold.

I served the Fish in Saffron Sauce with Cauliflower Rice and Broad Beans. A very satisfying and delicious main course under 300 kcals.

Fish in Saffron Sauce, with Cauliflower Rice and Broad Beans

 

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Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Salad

This Spanish style salad makes a great change from Cole Slaw having a light dressing, lovely crunch and an excellent combination of flavours.Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Salad

We ate it with Chicken with Garlic and Saffron (Pollo al Ajillo) and Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce (Patatas Bravas) – about 400 kcals in all for me.

Chicken with garlic and saffron; patatas bravas; cabbage, green pepper and caraway salad

I have reduced the amount of olive oil and raisins used in order to make this a light, low-calorie salad that is suitable to use on a 5:2 Fast Day, or on any day as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Caraway Seeds contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, essential oils and anti-oxidants with many potential health benefits. They go particularly well with cabbage, as their anti-flatulent properties are particularly helpful.

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Hazelnut and Agave Syrup Baklava ~ 110 calories each

I do like a challenge!

I was asked if I could come up with a less syrupy version of baklava and as I had some filo pastry left, I decided to give it a go.  

I’m pretty pleased with the result: crispy, nutty and slightly sticky Baklava at only 110 calories a slice!

Hazelnut and Agave Syrup BaklavaNotes on the ingredients:

I had some agave syrup that I bought for us to try – it is low GI, so better for you as a sweetener than sugar, and while it is processed, it is not synthetic. It is also sweeter than sugar so you need less of it. You could use honey or maple syrup or sugar syrup if you prefer, but as you wouldneed to use more for the same sweetness, the end result would be higher in calories. I didn’t add any sweetness to the pastry itself.

For nuts, I chose to use ground hazelnuts, though I think that walnuts or (unsalted) pistachios, or any other nuts would work just as well.  

I wanted to use rosewater in the syrup, but didn’t have any, so I used orange flower water instead. I think the flowery note makes it more middle-eastern, but if you can’t get either then probably not the end of the world! Maybe use a little lemon juice instead.

I used a slivers of lemon zest in the syrup, but orange zest would also be nice.  

I had a few sheets of filo pastry left, 4 I think, plus a part sheet. So I cut them all to a smaller size, about 20 x 30cm, which I folded over to make my baklava 20 x 15 approx and used the trimmings to make up the layers as well. When baked, I cut this into 8 portion sized pieces – I got a little distracted just before putting it in the oven and didn’t cut it into shapes before baking it. Didn’t seem to matter really, I just had to be a little careful with cutting it after I had poured the syrup over.

I wouldn’t make a whole trayful unless we had a lot of guests.  As it is, if you are prone to being indulgent with sweet things, it might be better to make just half the quantity!

So this recipe makes enough for 8 servings, coming in at around 110 calories each. It was an absolute winner with vanilla ice cream, as it was not as sticky as a traditional baklava. Now we have another 6 pieces to eat 🙂

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Apologies for any discrepancies between my calorie estimates and those of my recipe cards. I don’t have control over how it calculates the ingredients and it may be using different products than the ones I have entered and used in MyFitnessPal. If it is critical to you, work with the higher figure!