This is the final soup recipe for my collection of 12 Super Soups. All these recipes can be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life as well as here on this site.
I make a lot of soups as they are a great way of getting to eat more vegetables!
A lot of people think that cheese is too high in calories to use on a fast day, but if you use a little strong cheese, it is amazing what a difference it can make to both the flavour and the texture. Because parmesan is a little salty too, it helps to balance your electrolytes – when you may have been drinking a lot of fluids on a fast day, you do need some salt to replace what may have been lost or is missing because you haven’t eaten. So whereas on non-fast days I rarely use salt in cooking, on fast days I like to make sure that something salty is part of our menu. That could be capers or pickles, air dried ham perhaps, or the stock that I use in soup.
Salmon is one of my go-to ingredients for a fast day, when I focus on “mainly plants and protein” and I always have some fillets in the freezer. This recipe makes a good change from my usual technique of putting it on a pile of sliced vegetables and wrapping it in paper parcels. I will defrost the fish first.
This recipe is in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, but as I had included it in this week’s meal plan, and highlighted the photo, I thought I should share it here.
The original idea came from a New Zealand cook, Annabel Langbein, from her excellently-titled 2003 recipe book “Cooking to Impress without Stress”.
You can use walnuts instead of pine nuts and vary the herbs. I plan to serve it with a spoonful of tsatsiki (greek yogurt with salted, drained, finely chopped cucumber and mint), but it would be lovely with a chilli and tomato salsa or on a non-fast day, a hollandaise sauce would be super.
A rainbow of steamed seasonal vegetables and perhaps a few baked mushrooms add visual appeal, flavour and plenty of fibre. Today we will be having swiss chard and carrots, plus some slivers of raw vegetables – my new kitchen gadget, a super-duper Mandolin, is going to be put to use!
Is there anything that cauliflower doesn’t lend itself to? So many wonderful ways of using this vegetable! Here is one of my favourites, combining the kick of harissa and warm fragrant spices along with the nuttiness of almonds. The recipe came originally from the BBC Good Food site, which has lots of super ideas, but theirs was much higher in calories. I have used less oil and made the soup less dense, so that it is ideal for a fast day. Beware of the harissa! It can be fiercely hot if you aren’t used to it, so you might want to start with a smaller quantity and taste before adding it all. For a milder kick, you could use a chilli sauce, such as Cholula.
Ok, so this is not for a fast day! But a really lovely treat for the weekend, especially if you want to get into a bit of a Caribbean mood…
I realised as I was making this, that there are a couple of errors in the print and kindle editions currently, for which I apologise! I know I made it at least twice before publishing, so not quite sure how that happened. Here it is exactly as I made it today.
I don’t often use Agave nectar, but it is quicker to use than making a sugar syrup and lower in calories too.
Here’s a warming and satisfying soup that works well for a fast day or as a lunch or supper any day. This one is is my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life (available on Amazon worldwide in print or kindle editions).
I used sunflower oil for sautéing the onions, but coconut oil would be great for this. You can vary the green vegetables according to what’s available – I’m going to try this next time with some of my home-grown kale. You could use any canned beans, but I love the almost nutty flavour of chickpeas. For a non-fast day a swirl of coconut cream on top and some slivers of toasted coconut would be lovely.
Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil 60 kcals
1 onion, chopped 44 kcals
1 clove garlic, chopped 4 kcals
2.5 cm root ginger, finely grated 9 kcals
1/2 fresh green chilli, finely chopped 4 kcals
1 litre vegetable stock 24 kcals
2 large carrots, chopped 58 kcals
400g can of chickpeas, drained 339 kcals
150g spinach leaves, washed and shredded 35 kcals
For the garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds 8 kcals
1 tsp coriander seeds 5 kcals
1/2 tsp turmeric 4 kcals
1/2 tsp black pepper 3 kcals
1/2 tsp cayenne powder 3 kcals
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 3 kcals
Heat the oil in heavy pan over low-medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for a few minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent and soft.
Add the garam masala and cook for another couple of minutes, until the spices are fragrant – add a splash of water if necessary to stop them burning.
Add the stock and carrots, bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the carrots are tender.
Add the chickpeas and then whizz a little with a stick blender, making sure to leave some nice chunky bits.
Add the spinach and cook for a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Serve in warmed bowls.
Per serving: kcals 150 Carbs 23g Fat 4g Protein 7g
I came across this recipe in a book about cooking on a canal barge by Kate Ratliffe “A Culinary Journey in Gascony”. It makes a wonderful summery soup using loads of fresh tomatoes, but t it would be perfect for a fast day even in winter using tinned, bottled or frozen tomatoes. Adding an egg just before the end of cooking increases the protein content and gives added interest.
I would serve this over some toasted bread rubbed with garlic for a non-fast day.
So imagine yourself cruising along the Canal du Midi and stopping to buy a big bag of misshapen Marmande tomatoes, and enjoying this for lunch….
I was looking for ideas to use our bumper crop of home-grown raspberries and came across this recipe on delicious.com. An ice-cream based dessert that is a cross between a cheesecake and tray bake, but no cooking required. I have used far less biscuit and toffee sauce than suggested. Really yummy with our own home-grown raspberries! A lovely weekend treat that isn’t too high in calories.
In those fondly remembered days when we lived on board our yacht Oasis in the Caribbean, one of our favourite visits was to the French islands Les Saintes. There we had a memorable Smoked Swordfish Tart at Le Genois.
It is fairly unusual to find smoked swordfish or marlin outside of the Caribbean I think, but sometimes here I find smoked tuna slices, which fits the bill perfectly. I haven’t tried it with canned smoked fish, as the texture of fresh (or defrosted) is so much nicer. You can use smoked salmon or trout instead.
For a non-fast day, I made this with a wholewheat shortcrust base, but it would work equally well as a crustless quiche – just make sure that you use a really good non-stick dish or grease it really well. You can have 4 generous servings from your tart – it comes to 488 calories with the pastry version – but just 260 per serving for a crustless one, so that would be a lovely main dish for a fast day, to serve with a crisp green salad or steamed vegetables. The serving shown in the photo is just 1/6, at only 320 kcals.
Just imagine that you are looking over crystal clear blue waters and feeling the tropical heat…
You can get a glimpse of the lovely islands of Les Saintes (and other delightful places) in my cruising journal.
Turn a few ingredients into a simple and delicious cake or dessert.
I included a version of this recipe in my first book, Focus on Flavour. It is a great way of using eggs and at this time of year, when there is an abundance of clementines (or satsumas or tangerines), it makes a great treat, with the added bonus of having no flour or added fat and being relatively low in sugar. So it is excellent for anyone looking for a wheat / gluten and dairy free cake or dessert.
I first heard of this from Claudia Roden and later came across it on Nigella.com.
I have reduced the sugar significantly, it really does not need to be particularly sweet, let the flavour and sweetness of the fruit shine through!
If you cut the cake into 12 slices, it comes to less than 180 calories a piece. We will have it with some lovely thick greek yogurt, or a scoop of chocolate sorbet, as a dessert. A small sliver would go very well with a cup of espresso if you have guests to please….
This idea came to me via the Hairy Dieters, whose recipes are enormously popular with many 5:2 fasters, as they are generally straightforward and family friendly. I am a great fan of filo pastry, as one of the things you often miss when you cut back on starchy carbs and fat (i.e pastry) is a contrasting texture. Here is a way of adding something light and crispy as a topping. In this example, I was actually using more of my Christmas leftovers so this is a Turkey Tangle Pie, which also used up the last scraps of gammon, some mushrooms, some cream and some brandy. I’m going to be trying some variations of this for sure – imagine some roasted veg and a rich mushroom and sherry sauce, or layers of sliced celeriac and carrots with spinach and a herby sauce…. or something fruity like apples, mincemeat and marzipan with just a drizzle of honey or maple syrup or a sprinkle of icing sugar when serving…
So to the method:
One sheet* of filo pastry per portion and half a teaspoon of vegetable oil, I used sunflower oil.
Lay the sheets on top of each other and cut into 3. Lay those on top of each other, and then cut into 3 in the other direction, so you end up with 9 small rectangles from each slice.
Now, scrunch them up and lay them on top of your pie to cover the filling completely and very lightly brush with the oil.
Bake in a hot oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
* I have discovered that filo sheets vary a lot in size! The ones I use measure 30 x 38cms, there are 8 -10 sheets in a 250g pack, so each sheet would be between 70 and 90 calories. ½ a teaspoon of oil is about 20 calories. So adding a topping like this will be add approximately 100 calories per serving. Compare that to a puff pastry topping, which would be about 300 calories!