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!


Chargrilled Courgette Salad

Chargrilled Courgette Salad

Griddled Courgette SaladHere’s something to celebrate the start of summer! 
Per person. Slice 1 medium courgette lengthways into 4 slices. Marinade in a little olive oil with finely chopped garlic and red chilli, then griddle on a ridged pan until tender. Toss with any remaining marinade mixed with lemon juice, chopped mint and chopped basil. Serve at room temperature on a bed of lettuce. Approx 70 Calories, using 1 tsp of olive oil. Would be nice with parmesan shavings or toasted pine nuts or other nuts/seeds sprinkled over.

Broad Bean and Walnut Salad

I just love this time of year, when there are fresh broad beans to pick from the garden!

Here is a salad to celebrate delicious broad beans.

Broad Bean and Walnut Salad

Broad Bean and Walnut Salad


Broad beans, lightly cooked
Red onion, finely sliced
Spring onion, finely sliced
White Radish, finely sliced
Walnut pieces, toasted
Parsley, chopped
Vinaigrette made with walnut vinegar*

This would work so well with a light fresh goat or sheep’s cheese, like feta! For my meat-eater I served it with some slivers of serrano ham and rosette sausage.

I had it on a pile of green leaves with some Cantal cheese and sliced tomato.

I haven’t calorie counted it as I didn’t weigh the ingredients, but it is the sort of healthy food that can be part of any day of eating.

*vinegar aromatised with walnuts is a common ingredient here in South West France, where walnuts grow happily. If you can’t find it, then you could use some walnut oil to get that lovely nutty flavour.

I used white radish as the red radishes looked a bit wilted in the shop, but they would be so pretty in this salad.

Hazelnuts would work too, as an alternative to walnuts.

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

This is a very flavourful vegetarian main which is low enough in calories to have on a 5:2 Fast Day or as part of a calorie-counted healthy eating plan :-
Leek and Crunchy Carrot GratinOr serve as a side dish with chipolata sausages :-

Leek Gratin with Chipolatas

 The calculations for calories came out differently on MyFitnessPal than on my recipe card, below. Either way, no more than 265 kcals for the portions of gratin shown here.

The caraway seeds add a really interesting flavour. 

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin
Serves 5
A yummy leek based vegetarian main dish, or a good accompaniment to sausages (baked in the oven at the same time). With the vegetables, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and nuts, this has a good balance of ingredients.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 500g leeks, cut into chunks
  2. 150ml vegetable stock or water
  3. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  4. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  6. 10g unsalted butter
  7. 1 tblsp plain flour
For the topping
  1. 60g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
  2. 2 medium carrots, grated
  3. 75g grated hard cheese
  4. 15g chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Put the leeks in a saucepan with the water and seeds.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are softened.
  4. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon to a baking dish.
  5. Pour the remaining liquid into a jug and make up to 300ml with milk.
  6. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a roux.
  7. Gradually add the liquid, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth sauce.
  8. Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring.
  9. Check the seasoning.
  10. Pour over the leeks.
  11. Mix all the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top.
  12. Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden.
  1. I used oddments of cheese that I had left - a little cheddar, some comté and some crumbled blue sheep's cheese, which gave an interesting mix of flavours.
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook (1999), consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Adapted from The Ultimate Healthy Eating Cookbook (1999), consultant editor Anne Sheasby
Focus on Flavour

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli

I love Mexican flavours –  what an excellent excuse to add a good grating of dark chocolate to your food! 

Turkey Chilli

I used lean turkey, but you could use soya mince or quorn for a veggie version.

Serve with guacamole (1/2 serving – 43 kcals), low fat fromage frais or yogurt (1/4 pot -14 kcals), a little grated strong flavoured cheese – like Cheddar or Red Leicester (5g – 21 kcals), shredded lettuce , sliced spring onions , tomato salsa (1 tblsp – 5kcals) – and a few taco chips (20g – 100 kcals). Even with a small portion of brown rice (1/4 cup cooked, 54 kcals), this comes in at under 450 calories (as long as you stick to my portion sizes! Chaps can have more, of course). So this works for a Fast Day or any day of healthy eating to support weight loss.

I was lucky to be given a block of Willie’s 100% cocoa Venezuelan Black chocolate by some appreciative guests – a great ingredient and lasts for ages! A little dusting on a dessert is lovely but it is also very good in savoury dishes such as this. Just adds that little something, but hardly any calories. 

Red Bean and Chocolate Chilli
Serves 4
Spicy and delicious chilli
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  1. 1 tblsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  4. 175g lean turkey (or soya mince or quorn)
  5. 1/2 tsp Mexican chilli powder
  6. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  8. 200g peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  9. 400g can red kidney beans, drained
  10. 10g grated dark chocolate (100% cocoa if possible)
  11. 1 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
  1. If using turkey, chop finely or mince in a food processor.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic until soft and golden.
  3. Add the turkey or vegetarian alternative and stir-fry until lightly coloured all over.
  4. Add the spices and mix well.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer.
  6. Check the seasoning.
  7. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to stop it getting too dry.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and grate over the chocolate and garnish with chopped coriander.
  1. Serve with shredded lettuce, grated strong cheese, sliced spring onion, tomato salsa, guacamole, low fat fromage frais (or sour cream if you have calories to spare...) and a few taco chips.
Focus on Flavour

Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat’s Cheese Gratin

This is what we had for lunch today – totally delicious and lovely textures. This makes a great feature of Jerusalem Artichokes, which are in season now.  Not entirely plant-based proteins, because of the goat’s cheese….

_MG_3253 Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat's Cheese Gratin _MG_3309 Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat's Cheese Gratin

Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat’s Cheese Gratin

for 2 people (but we couldn’t finish it!). 490 kcals, 12.6g protein per serving

  • 450 grams peeled or scrubbed artichokes (keep under water to stop them going brown)
  • 3 small leeks
  • a grating of fresh nutmeg and black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g shelled walnut pieces
  • 2 rounds of fresh young goat’s cheese (called Cabecou here)
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

Heat oven to 200C.

Slice the artichokes into rounds, about 5mm (1/4″) thick. Cook in boiling lightly salted water for about 3 minutes, until slightly soft. Drain.

Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until slightly coloured, then chop finely.

Trim, wash and slice the leeks finely. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the leeks and spices, stir fry for a minute or two, then add about 100ml of water. Put the lid on and lower the heat to minimum and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and luscious.

Put the leeks in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. If they have dried out, add a couple of tablespoons of water, then layer the artichokes on top. Sprinkle the nuts over and then crumble the goats cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown.

Serve with a rocket and orange salad (half an orange), dressed with the squeezed orange juice and a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.


We finished our meal with Vanilla Soya Custard with Banana.

Vanila Soya Custard with Banana

Entered in At Home with Mrs M’s Recipe Link PartyMade with Love Mondays hosted by javelin warrior and Simple and in Season which is hosted this month by Caroline at Cake, Crumbs and Cooking