Lattice-topped tart

Lattice-topped tartI made a batch of Vegetarian Mincemeat before Christmas, and although it will keep well enough to make more mince pies next year, it is a lovely, rich filling for a dessert tart.  

I didn’t want to make the mincemeat filling too deep – just enough to cover the base of the tart, so then I topped it with a couple of apples, quartered, cored and finely sliced.

Lattice-topped tart

I have inherited a little wooden pastry wheel (you can buy them incredibly cheaply, made from box wood), so rather than making a completely open tart, which tends to overcook the filling, I enjoyed making these wavy edged strips to create a lattice topping. Lighter than a pie, but rather elegant!

Lattice-topped tartYou may have a lattice tool that you can use, but otherwise, just cut strips with an ordinary knife.

Lattice-topped tartI like to roll my pastry out really thin, so there was enough left over to make a dozen mince pies as well! 

This was lovely served with some custard. Tomorrow I will serve it with either vanilla ice cream or Greek style yogurt.

Lattice-topped tartSeeing as we are doing a dry January, I don’t feel even remotely guilty about having a dessert like this – no more calories than a couple of glasses of wine, I’m sure – and all good home made food from organic ingredients.

Lattice-topped tart

I made the pastry from 250g of Bio Type 65 flour and 125g unsalted butter and a pinch of salt. My flan dish is 25mm diameter. I used a little more than one jar of mincemeat for the tart and the small pies. My mincemeat was based on a Delia Smith recipe. Ok, I’ll work out the calorie counts later!

Individual Mojito Cheesecakes

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… 

Mojito Cheesecakes

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.

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Raspberry Ice Cream Cake – about 250 calories per portion

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.  

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Seasonal lusciousness – Walnut and Chestnut Tart, with Figs

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I was reminded of my alternative to Pecan Pie recently, but when I looked at the recipe I had included in my first book, Focus on Flavour, I realised that it was very calorific and much richer than we have become used to. So here is my (somewhat) reduced calorie version. It is still at least 300 calories per portion, so not something for a fast day….

I used ready rolled brisée pastry for mine, but you could use a basic shortcrust or sweet shortcrust pastry.  I have noted the ingredients in order to get the calorie count to match what the packet told me… 

Because we have so many fabulous figs in the garden this year, I have added two, which gave a really lovely flavour and texture for variety, but it would be equally good without them.  I served it with a fromage blanc and walnut ice cream. A lovely seasonal weekend treat.

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Lemony Yogurt Cheesecake – with Strawberries

Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake with Strawberries

It’s been a bit of a strawberry fest over the last couple of weeks, it has been a really prolific harvest this year and we haven’t been able to keep up with eating them fresh.

So far I have made Strawberry and Lavender sorbet (very good), Strawberry Fromage Blanc Ice Cream (lovely), Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping (delish), gently cooked alongside Spiced Pineapple and we’ve eaten them plain with and without cream, as Eton Mess – mixed with meringues and vanilla ice cream – and as a savoury dish, combined with avocado in a salad (very complementary).

Still there are more!

So I decided to try drying some in the oven. I made a coulis. I cooked some gently as a compote. Then I made my low calorie, greek yogurt based, New York style cheesecake with lemon and topped it with fresh strawberries.

This makes a great treat for the weekend, but doesn’t leave you feeling over-stuffed. Of course with just the two of us we didn’t want to waste it, so we had a tiny sliver each for dessert on our fast day too….

Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake with Strawberries

Lemony Yogurt Cheesecake with an Oatcake Base

Using oats instead of digestive biscuits (Graham crackers) for the crust and delicious Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese for the filling, makes this a much lighter but still delicious alternative to a classic New York Cheesecake. 

Serves 8

  • 7 oatcakes, crumbled 408 kcals
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted 359 kcals
  • 70g raw cane sugar 280 kcals
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 6 kcals
  • 600g low fat Greek yogurt 450 kcals
  • 2 large eggs 143 kcals
  • 2 large egg yolks 108 kcals
  • 1 tbsp cornflour 26 kcals
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon 17 kcals

Preheat oven to 140°C (fan).

Mix oatcake crumbs and melted butter, then turn out into a 20cm (8-inch) loose-bottomed cake tin pan and press mixture into an even crust across the bottom, with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm and dry, then remove from oven and put on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks on low speed, then add sugar, cornflour, salt, vanilla, and yogurt and continue to beat on low speed until light and slightly bubbly.

Add lemon juice and lemon zest and beat briefly to incorporate.

Pour mixture into prepared crust and place in the centre of the oven.

Start checking cheesecake after 50 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after that, by shaking the pan gently – the filling should look creamy but firm at the edges, and still appear slightly jiggly in the centre (it will firm up as it cools).

Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Per serving: kcals 225
Carbs 20g Fat 11g Protein 11g

I didn’t calculate the calories for the strawberry topping, I would  guess no more than 20 calories per serving, including the ‘nappage’ (can’t think what that’s called in English!).

Strawberry Coulis

Perfect to top a simple dessert of fromage blanc or Greek yogurt, to drizzle over ice cream or to top a cheesecake.

Serves 2

  • 100g strawberry pieces 34 kcals
  • 2 tsp golden granulated sugar 33 kcals
  • a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar 1 kcal

Wash the strawberries and put in a small plan with the sugar and vinegar.

Cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft enough to pass through a sieve.

Per serving: kcals 34
Carbs 8g Fat 0g Protein 0g

 These recipes are taken from my book “5:2 Healthy Eating for Life” which is available on Amazon in print and kindle formats.

Delightful Seasonal Dessert – Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping

Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping

Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping

I was so thrilled to discover that you can make something that has the same lusciousness as a lemon meringue pie, but without the pastry. Rhubarb is a wonderful partner with strawberries and has a delightful tartness that contrasts really well with the slightly sweet berries. If you find that rhubarb is available before the strawberries are in season, then you can use a tablespoonful of strawberry jam instead of fresh fruit (12 calories per serving extra), but I highly recommend using fresh fruit if possible.

Serves 4

  • 500g rhubarb, chopped into 3cm lengths 105 kcals
  • 2 tbsp Acacia honey 128 kcals
  • half an orange 43 kcals
  • 2 eggs, separated 126 kcals
  • 50g caster sugar 194 kcals
  • 100g strawberries, hulled and sliced 34 kcals

Heat the oven to 160ºc (fan).

Use a peeler or sharp knife to take the outer skin from half an orange without any of the pith, then slice into fine strips.

Juice the orange. Put the rhubarb in a shallow ovenproof dish with the honey, orange rind and juice. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft, but still holds its shape.

Meanwhile put the strawberries in a small pan and cook gently until the strawberries have softened, about 5 minutes.

Mix the rhubarb and strawberries with the egg yolks and divide between 4 ramekins. Put the ramekins onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add 25g of sugar and whisk again. Fold in the remaining sugar.

Pile the meringue on top of the ramekins and ensure that the rhubarb is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown, then serve immediately.

Per serving: kcals 157
Carbs 32g Fat 3g Protein 4g

Strawberry and Rhubarb with Meringue Topping

 

Blood Orange with Pistachios and Dates <200 kcals

When shopping this week, I found some lovely blood oranges. The perfect finish for a Moroccan inspired dinner or to follow something spicy. 

Blood Orange with PistachiosBlood Orange with Pistachios

I love the vibrant colour of these blood oranges, but of course ordinary ones would be lovely prepared like this too.

Per person

  • 1 large orange 86 kcals
  • 3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped 70 kcals
  • 6 unsalted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped and toasted 33 kcals
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon

Cut the rind and pith off the orange and then slice thinly.

Arrange on a plate and distribute the dates over the top.

Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, sprinkle with cinnamon and scatter the pistachios over the top.

Per serving: kcals 193
Carbs 43g Fat 3g Protein 4g

This recipe can be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life.

UPDATE: January 2016. I have adjusted this to make it work better on a fast day, when it makes a lovely refreshing finish to a meal. Using just one small date knocks 50 calories off, and a medium sized navel orange is only 69 calories. So you can do a lovely plate for under 120 calories. 

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

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

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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.

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Light Entertainment ~

Had a lovely dinner with friends last night. I won’t know the calories until I get the recipes written up in detail, but this is healthy eating with great flavour and a perfect way to celebrate seasonal foods.

Spring vegetables with sesame crisp

Spring Vegetables with Sesame Crisp
Fresh lightly cooked broad beans and petit pois, combined with cucumber, apple and bean shoots. Dressed with tamari soy sauce, lemon juice and toasted sesame oil and topped with a wafers of filo pastry and sesame seeds.

 

Red Mullet with Coconut Lime Sauce and Puy Lentil Salad

Red Mullet with Coconut-Lime Sauce and a Puy Lentil Salad
The fish is dusted with curry-spiced flour and pan fried in a little butter. The pan is deglazed with light coconut milk, spices and raisins. The puy lentils are tossed in lime juice, mint and chilli, with red onion, red pepper, tomato and apple.

 

Rhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard

Rhubarb-Orange-Honey Compote with Cardamom Custard
I used my beautiful home grown forced rhubarb, which I baked with orange juice and zest and a little honey. Surrounded with a delicate, lightly sweetened soya custard aromatised with cardamom and vanilla.

 

I’m really enjoying the fact that we can eat like this whilst losing weight! 

Pear with Chocolate Meringue Topping

Soft sharp pear contrasts wonderfully with a sweet, nutty chocolate meringue topping, less than 150 calories per serving – or if you make mini ramekins, only 60 – 75 calories each, depending on the size and sweetness of the pears.

Pear with Chocolate Meringue Topping

The idea for this dish came from BBC Good Food, where it is called Chocolate Pear Crisp.  But their recipe had way too much sugar for my taste, so I radically changed it.

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