It is now a year since we started following 5:2 Intermittent Fasting. Wow. I remember how strange it felt that first day, going without lunch. Well nowadays, more often than not, I go without breakfast too and find it makes no difference to how hungry I feel in the afternoon. I still tend to get a dip, and a rumble or two mid-afternoon, but it doesn’t interfere with whatever else I want to do. I just have another cup of something and carry on.
For my first anniversary fast day dinner, I’m going to use up some ingredients that I have in the fridge, which includes fresh leeks and carrots and an assortment of cheese. I also have piles of gorgeous nuts, which I love to have around the house at Christmas time. Some of these are walnuts from our own garden, which was a good crop this year. It is worth buying caraway seeds to use in this, they add a great flavour to the dish. They are handy to have with all kinds of cabbage dishes as well, they reputedly help with reducing flatulence!
I have a lovely basket of small satsumas from Corsica that caught my eye when I went shopping, so dessert will be one of those, together with some of my first batch of home-made kefir yogurt. More about that another day.
This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.
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. It would also work well to serve as a side dish with sausages (baked in the oven at the same time)
With the vegetables, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and nuts, this has a good balance of ingredients. I used oddments of cheese that I had left – a little cheddar, some Comté and some crumbled blue sheep’s cheese, which worked fine, but you can use any hard cheese really. The caraway seeds add a really interesting flavour.
- 500g leeks, cut into chunks 155 kcals
- 150ml vegetable stock or water 12 kcals
- 1 tsp caraway seeds 7 kcals
- 250ml semi-skimmed milk 113 kcals
- 10g unsalted butter 70 kcals
- 1 tbsp plain flour 52 kcals
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the topping
- 60g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs 127 kcals
- 2 medium carrots, grated 50 kcals
- 75g grated hard cheese 312 kcals
- 15g chopped walnuts 98 kcals
Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).
Put the leeks in a saucepan with the stock or water and seeds.
Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are softened.
Remove the leeks with a slotted draining spoon and transfer to a baking dish.
Pour the remaining liquid into a jug and make up to 300ml with milk.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
When it starts to froth, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon to make a roux.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the liquid, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth sauce.
Return to the heat and simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time, to make sure that it doesn’t burn and there are no lumps.
Check the seasoning.
Pour over the leeks.
Mix all the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top.
Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden.
Serve with some fresh green vegetables, such as steamed broccoli.
Per serving: kcals 199
Carbs 20g Fat 10g Protein 7g