Week 4 meal plan

Front_cover_only_small_80 Focus on Flavour Cod with Tomato and Chorizo Pear with Amaretti Crumble Watercress Soup _MG_3305 _MG_3219 Teriyaki Salmon _MG_3300This week I have a list of things I want to make, driven by ingredients to hand.

Starting on Monday, Fast Day: *Watercress for a Soup, then *Jerusalem Artichokes will make a lovely gratin. For dessert, some *Pineapple, spiced with cinnamon and given some extra zing with lime zest.

On Tuesday I plan to make a salad with *Pumpkin and Walnuts, using up some cheese that we have along with it. For dinner I will make the *Leek Risotto that I didn’t get round to last week. The *Parmesan Crisps will make sure we really get our cheese hit today! I may try something different with the leftover pineapple, or I still have some Raspberry Ice Cream Cake in the freezer.

On Wednesday, I will use some of our eggs for a #Spanish Tortilla for lunch. For dinner I am thinking of Tartes Fines with shallots, beetroot, walnut and goats cheese, along with some of my fresh garden greens steamed and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. 

Thursday is our 2nd fast day of the week and I am thinking of trying a Soba Noodle Soup, followed by *Salmon Teriyaki. Dessert will be whatever fruit is to hand with some fromage blanc.

On Friday I will make a glorious #French Onion Soup for lunch. For supper I am thinking of my variation of *Cod and Chips, where the fish is grilled rather than fried in batter and the chips are oven baked. I like to serve it with peas and a chunky tomato salsa. For dessert, the *Conference Pears that I have should be perfectly ripened and will be simply baked with an amaretti crumble topping.

For the weekend I want to try the Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce and am thinking that a *Beef and Carrot Casserole, with some added Barley would follow it nicely, but I may change this depending on what I see at the butcher’s counter. I would pair that with some #Pommes Boulangère and probably pop an Apple and Blackberry Crumble into the oven at the same time.

Lots of these recipes are in one or other of my books – * for 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life and # for Focus on Flavour….

No more time to write any more, I need to make the most of the sunshine to get on with the pruning!

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!

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

Another January Meal Plan

Chinese Pancakes with Pulled Pork Cinnamon and Citrus Pineapple Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean Cabbage with Green Pepper and Caraway Turkey Chilli IMG_3129

I am relying on my meal plan a lot, though I do tend to change things around a bit. You will see that I try and plan how to use my leftovers, and will often cook more than I need, so that there will be some fruit to have with yogurt for breakfast, or some meat to add flavour and texture to a vegetable stir fry.

Of course I am also swayed by family requests, so for instance, the idea of not doing pizza on a Saturday, goes down like a lead balloon… and I really don’t mind as I enjoy it and it is easy to make 2 and have one in the freezer for the following week.

I’ve actually gone off plan from last week and am cooking Pulled Pork today. Tonight we will have it in Chinese style pancakes, with hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onion. It is if you like, my version of a fake-away. I could do it with duck, but the pork was such a bargain and I know we will get at least 3 meals from it. 

I’ve bought a fresh pineapple as a treat though, and look forward to trying out some new ideas with it. One suggestion that I put on my Seasonal Pinterest board, is a Pineapple and Chilli Upside Down Cake. I’m thinking of working that as individual portions and significantly calorie reducing it by cutting out most of the sugar, plus adding in some more fibre, perhaps with some oat bran. I’ll let you know if it works out!

SundayBacon, Egg, Tomato, Baked BeansLeftover Pizza with Mixed Salad.
Fresh Fruit
Pulled Pork, Winter Slaw, *Pumpkin and Celeriac Galettes, Green Beans, BBQ Sauce
*Cinnamon Citrus Pineapple
MondayFAST DAY-*Caribbean Butternut Soup
Buckwheat Burger, Vegetable Stir Fry
Yogurt with Apple and Cinnamon
TuesdayYogurt with Apple and CinnamonSmoked Mackerel and Avocado Salad
Fresh Fruit
Sweet and Sour Pork and Pineapple Chow Mein (using leftover pork)
#Figs baked with Creme Fraiche
WednesdayYogurt with FigsCauliflower Cheese Soup
Fresh Fruit
*Guacamole and Taco Chips
*Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli
Apple and Blackberry Dessert
ThursdayFAST DAY-#Blackened Mahi Mahi Caesar Salad
*Frozen Banana "Ice Cream" with Toasted Coconut
FridayWholewheat Toast with Almond ButterHam, Egg and Oven Baked Potato ChipsQuinoa Spaghetti with Amazing Arabiatta Sauce
*Cherry Choc Chip Gelato
SaturdayBoiled Egg and Wholewheat Toast*Home Made Pizza and Salad.
Fresh Fruit.
*Spanish style Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean, *Cabbage, Green Pepper and Raisin Salad, Carrot and Cumin Salad
Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
* 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!

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
Make up your porridge using water
15 / 20g of Porridge Oats (55/70), with 50ml soya milk (20)
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)
Total Calories for the day 460/550

Wishing you a Happy New Year

It is nearly our 3rd anniversary of starting the 5:2 lifestyle and I shall be continuing to have 2 days a week of only 500 calories.

I’m planning on sharing a lot more content over the next month as I know that there will be lots of you wanting to start 2016 by taking control of your diet. So to start with, I am looking at a simple way of sharing ideas for fast day menus. 

Here is an example of my new plan.

Fast Day Menu with Breakfast and Dinner
Smoked Trout and Scrambled Egg
Smoked Trout with (1 or 2) Scrambled Eggs (140 or 215 kcals)
Simple Vegetable SoupRump SteakCherry Compote
Simple Vegetable Soup (70)100g or 120g Steak (125/150) with Watercress and Orange Salad (40), Light Cole Slaw (30), Garlic Mushrooms (15)Fromage Blanc with Spiced Cherry Compote (55)
Total Calories for the day 475 / 575

As it happens, my own intention for 2016 is to move towards a more planet- and body- friendly diet, which means more vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit and legumes and less meat and fish. So this particular example, from way back in 2013, may not be something I will repeat – but if you have a meat lover in your family, it just goes to show that you can offer not only breakfast, but also a 3 course dinner including steak and sides, with less than 500 calories (or 600 with slightly larger portions for a man). 

De-light-ful Summer Evening Eating

I love having dinner parties in the garden, but the trick for me is to have as much as possible prepared ahead. The only thing that needed cooking on the night was the kofta kebabs on the barbecue, everything else was prepared and just the final presentation done at the table – people enjoy watching things coming together in front of them, before they get to demolish them! That way I get to spend lots of time with my guests, not in the kitchen (though there was a good amount of time in there earlier! ). I wanted to provide a light, inspiring meal, that wouldn’t result in anyone groaning when finally leaving the table.

Here’s my menu, focussing on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients and making the most of my garden produce :-


Quercy Melon with soft Goat’s Cheese, Cucumber and Sun-dried Tomatoes, with an olive oil and walnut vinegar dressing, and chopped basil. This recipe is in Focus on Flavour. I usually use a buche de chevre that I buy from the local market, but this time I used a soft cheese “Petit Billy”, that worked really well. Feta could be an alternative, as it has a salty tang to contrast well with the sweet melon. If you are in France for a visit, do buy walnut vinegar – it makes a fantastic dressing with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.


Chilled Skinny Gazpacho Shots, with cumin seed, celery salt and chives, served with pretzel sticks. The recipe for Gazpacho is in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life and you can find the recipe here. This time, I used only the flesh of the tomatoes and cucumbers (our chickens enjoyed the seeds), which resulted in a finer, more liquid drink as opposed to a soup.


Chargrilled Courgettes with olive oil, lemon, red chilli, garlic, mint and basil drizzle on a bed of little gem lettuce. The recipe is in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life and you can find it here


Homegrown Heritage Tomato Salad with cucumber, green pepper and red onion, dressed with olive oil, cider vinegar and dried Greek oregano.

I love to grow a selection of different-coloured tomatoes and slice them in different ways to emphasis their different sizes and shapes.


Aubergines with Yogurt topped with pomegranate seeds and spicy herb mix.

Cold aubergine has been a revelation! This is based on Ottolenghi’s recipe, from Plenty, but using greek Yogurt as I cannot get buttermilk here and cooking the aubergines on the barbecue, rather than in the oven, which is so easy. Because you serve them cold, make some extra for another day, but only add the topping at the last minute. Instead of Za’atar I used a really nice spice/herb mix “Salade Bonheur” that I found in Bio-Coop, that has rosemary, lovage, thyme, tarragon, dill, oregano, basil, cumin, aniseed, marjoram, wild garlic, cornflower and marigold. It looks pretty.


Moroccan Flatbread with Fennel seed, from a recipe in Moro, the Cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark. I had no idea what this was supposed to look or taste like. I used my breadmaker to make the dough and divided into 5 instead of 4, so that we could have one each (but we didn’t eat that much). Glazed with egg and milk.  I think another time I would cook for a shorter time or slightly cooler, so that the bread would be softer. But I liked the light flavouring from the fennel seed. I used an organic strong white flour – Mon Bio, ‘pain tradition’.


Barbecued Kofta Kebabs, made from pork and beef mince, with some breadcrumbs and egg to bind the mix, spiced with onion, garlic, ras-al-hanout, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkled with smoked paprika when cooked. I used my recipe for Swedish Meatballs from 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life and adapted the flavourings. You can find the recipe here. I actually made each one a little smaller this time, only 60g each, which is 120kcal.

I served some spiced cous cous for those who wanted some extra carbs, and there was a fresh rustic loaf of bread too, to go with the starter, and mop up the juices…

I wanted a show-stopper dessert to celebrate the fantastic crop of raspberries that we have had this year. A rare indulgence using sugar… but delightful – a cloud of crispy outer shell with a soft marshmallow like interior. 


Raspberry Pavolva with whipped crème fraîche, fresh raspberry jam, raspberries and toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

I was nervous about making my first pavlova and took advice from my chums over at 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World, and it worked perfectly (thank you Kim!). I added in some chopped hazelnuts, as I had originally been inspired by this recipe on delicious, which popped up on my newsfeed – but in the end decided against complicating the flavours with nectarines and honey. The raspberries are divine and deserve to shine alone. The raspberry jam is another Ottolenghi recipe, from Ottolenghi, the Cookbook. It gave just the right amount of drizzle and an extra hit of raspberri-ness.  The hazelnuts were a Zen exercise, as I couldn’t buy any blanched hazelnuts. But I have a basket of nuts from M. Tye down the road, who grows them commercially. So shelling and removing the skins was a little time consuming – but overall, I think worthwhile for the added dimension of texture and flavour. I was tempted to grate some Willies Venezuelan Black 100% Cacao over the top, but maybe that would have been a step too far… maybe next time, when I may make a chocolate meringue too.

No, I didn’t count the calories! The delights of a non-fast day 🙂 But apart from the dessert and the bread, these are all ideas that could make part of a delicious fast day meal.

In fact, just totting up the pavlova, it actually works out to only 225 calories a serving; so whilst it seems indulgent, it is a lot less than many other desserts would be.

Enjoy your summer! Relish in the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables and be brave with your use of herbs and spices.

Decluttering the Spice Shelf – mmm, tasty!


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! 


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 with the , such as venison or the league system.
  • 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


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!


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