5:2 in the Summer – Tuscan Zucchini Soup

This is a simple soup that makes a good light lunch or first course at under 90 calories per serving. Add another 70 calories for 3 grissini breadsticks. 

Ideal if you have a glut of courgettes and it freezes well too.

Tuscan Courgette Soup with breadsticks

Tuscan Zucchini Soup
Serves 6
A light and delicious soup that makes the most of courgettes/zucchini and freezes well
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1kg courgettes, diced
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  4. handful basil leaves
  5. freshly ground black pepper
  6. 10 g marigold swiss vegetable bouillon powder
  7. 1.2 litres water
  8. salt to taste
  9. 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  10. 40 g parmesan, finely grated
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan.
  2. Add the courgettes, garlic, basil and black pepper.
  3. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
  4. Make the stock with boiling water and bouillon powder.
  5. Set aside a couple of tablespoonfuls of the courgettes for garnish.
  6. Add the stock to the pan and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Whizz to a purée with a stick blender.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  9. Stir in parsley and most of the grated parmesan.
  10. Serve with a little grated parmesan on top and some pieces of courgette.
  1. You can use any shape of courgettes or soft-skinned summer squash.
  2. This soup freezes well.
Adapted from Cooking to Impress without Stress by Annabel Langbein
Adapted from Cooking to Impress without Stress by Annabel Langbein
Focus on Flavour https://www.focusonflavour.com/

Maintaining on 5:2 – enjoying the fruits of summer

I reached my target weight of 55kgs during June and have been happily maintaining between 54-55 for the last few weeks. With 5:2, it is so easy! I really don’t have to worry about what I eat in between fast days, though compared to this time last year I am eating less carbs and fat, well less of everything actually, except for fresh veggies and fruits!

I love this time of year, when our evening meal is largely determined by what I can harvest from the garden :-


Last week saw our first horticultural show in Lauzerte, organised by the VEEQ *Vivre Ensemble en Quercy* Garden Group.  I love my garden, so it was with enthusiasm that I entered loads of different categories to help fill up the tables and make a good show for the public. I was somewhat astonished to receive two cups and the magnificent trophy for Champion! I got a 1st for my mixed box of produce, shown above:- it gives you some idea of the choice I am spoiled with during the summer. All organically grown too.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have a garden, or to enjoy tending it, summertime is great for local seasonal produce and you can often pick up a bargain at market stalls.

Here’s a neat carb-free idea that you can do with courgettes of any shape, but I used patty pan squash, which are cropping abundantly :-

 Carb-free Summer Tartlets

summer tartletsSlices or halves of squash or courgette (slice a little off the bottom if using long courgettes, so they sit well on the tray), laid on a non-stick baking tray, lightly brushed with a little olive oil, sprinkled with finely chopped garlic or garlic powder, topped with either a slice of tomato and feta cheese, or grated cheese with tomato. Sprinkle with finely sliced basil, season with freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt and bake near the top of the oven at about 220c for 10 – 15 minutes. 

A bit of a treat this week has been to have Strawberry Scones with Clotted Cream – I made a couple of batches of scones for the Horticultural Show, where we were serving English cream teas. So easy and quick to make and quite low in butter and sugar. I made up for that with the clotted cream, which was left over for us to buy at the end of the show. An afternoon tea-time treat. I much prefer using fresh fruit to jam. You could use thick creme fraîche instead of clotted cream. 


Strawberry Scones


I used Delia Smith’s Plain Scone recipe – about 100 calories per scone. Using about a tablespoon of cream between the two halves – add another 90. Including the strawberries then say 200 calories for this plate of yumminess. But whose counting?

Enjoy the summer while it lasts!


Summer Meal Plan for 5:2

The forecast is for it to be hot and sunny all this coming week, so looking to do lots of fresh salads, cooking on the BBQ, chilled desserts and making the most of summer vegetables and fruit.

Ok, off to the shops now, armed with my meal plan. I’ll see how close I can get!


thin crust wholewheat pizza with salad
fresh melon and berries

melon with cucumber, goats cheese and sundried tomatoes
BBQ salmon skewers with chargrilled courgettes and new potatoes
cherry and choc chip gelato with cherry cinnamon coulis


salad niçoise (tuna, anchovies, olives, tomatoes, egg) with sauté potatoes
melon and blueberries

lamb and apricot tagine with minted cous-cous
creme catalan au lavande

Monday – Fast Day

Fresh green salad with nuts and seeds
Griddled sardines with tomato and red onion salad
Peach and raspberry sundae (frozen fromage frais)


Salad with charcuterie, toasted walnuts and roquefort

bean and coriander dip with taco chips
griddled chicken and peppers in a tortilla wrap (fajitas)
frozen lime and coconut dessert


piedmont stuffed peppers with puy lentil salad
frozen banana ‘ice cream’

chicken skewers with satay sauce and pickled cucumber, with pilau rice
baked stuffed peaches

Thursday –  fast day

summer minestrone
crustless courgette quiche with green beans almandine and cole slaw
fresh fruit salad with fromage blanc


leftover crustless quiche with salads
peaches with blue cheese and crackers

steak haché with sauce au poivre, french fries and mixed salad
apricot frangipani tart with creme fraiche

A bowl of cherries becomes….. cherry cole slaw

When faced with an abundance of something, it is well worth trying some new ideas……

Our cherry season is short and I tend to stone and freeze the majority of them, so that I can make pies, compotes, jam or whatever later on. 

Cherry Cole Slaw

I was making cole slaw to go with one of our BBQs and usually I add dried fruit, such as raisins, or maybe some chopped apple, but there was this big bow of fresh cherries in front of me, so I added some of those instead. They added just the right note of acidity and sweetness to contrast with the cabbage, carrots and creamy yogurt and mayo dressing. The borage flowers gave a rather lovely visual lift, I thought.

A bowl of cherries…..becomes Cherry and Choc Chip Gelato

Fantastic crop of cherries this year, after 2 years of none.


With the yellow and red cherries, I have made

  • Cherry, Vanilla and Lavender Jam
  • Cherry Pie Filling
  • Cherry and Cinnamon Samosas

and have about 10kg of frozen, stoned fruit to do something else with later.

Now the luscious dark red cherries are ripening. We have eaten handfuls of them just as they are, dripping with juice and with a lovely mix of sharpness and sweetness. Every day of sunshine sees them getting darker and sweeter.

This evening I picked some especially for making my version of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia – fabulous flavour and not too bad on the calories (well I hope not, it IS a fast day…)

I suppose strictly this can’t be called Ice Cream, as it is made with Fromage Frais, not Cream. I decided on Gelato, as this has a softer texture, and is lower fat. Yummy.

Please note this recipe contains raw egg.

The calorie count is incorrect in the Recipe Card. On MyFitnessPal it came out to nearly 200 calories a serving! oops. If I can figure out what it doesn’t like, I’ll correct it.

Cherry and Choc Chip Gelato
Serves 6
a light but luscious frozen fromage frais dessert, with cherries, dark chocolate and a hint of kirsch
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 50g dark chocolate
  2. 100g Bing cherries
  3. 15ml kirsch liqueur
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 50g soft brown sugar
  6. 500g fromage frais
  1. Pre-chill the ice-cream maker.
  2. Halve the cherries and put in a bowl with the kirsch, then refrigerate until needed.
  3. Chop the chocolate, then refrigerate.
  4. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the sugar and fromage frais and mix with the whisk.
  6. Pour into the ice cream maker.
  7. Shortly before the ice cream is ready, add the cherries and chocolate and leave to mix for a couple of minutes longer.
  8. Transfer to a plastic container with lid and put in the freezer to firm up, for up to about 30 minutes, then serve.
  1. Best made shortly before serving.
  2. If freezing for a longer time, remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving so that it can soften enough to scoop.
  3. Serving based on 2 good sized scoops.
  4. Please note: this recipe contains raw egg.
Adapted from Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia
Adapted from Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia
Focus on Flavour https://www.focusonflavour.com/