Golden tangle pie

Golden Tangle PieContinuing with my theme of using turmeric in more dishes and making delicious, healthy, well balanced meals…

When you are cutting back on starchy carbs, but not cutting them out altogether, a little filo pastry can provide a fantastic (and also quick and easy) topping for a pie. 

Here I have layered some softened leeks and mushrooms, followed by chopped cooked turkey, and pieces of cooked ham, topped with a creamy sauce with added golden paste. Then taking one sheet of filo per person, I cut each sheet into small squares and scrunched these up to cover the top of the dish. Sprayed or brushed very lightly with olive oil, then baked in a hot oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Tangle Pie

This would work equally well with fish or lentils, in fact there are probably hundreds of different possibilities! This is one of my favourite things to do with the Christmas leftovers – I put up a picture last year, but here is the recipe, complete with calorie counts.

Tangle Pie

My luxury version comes out at
Per serving:
490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soy sauce. So a delicious fast day main dish at only 390 kcals! Counts would be similar if you used about 100g of white fish or cooked lentils per person, instead of the meat. Calorie counts in brackets.

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Thai Salmon Patties with Pickled Vegetable Ribbons <250kcal

Thai Salmon Patties with Pickled Vegetable RibbonsI was reminded of these when a member of the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet group on Facebook asked for a fishcake recipe that didn’t require the use of breadcrumbs or mashed potato. I can’t wait for our next 5:2 fast day to do them again! Pickled vegetables are quite a thing now, turning up regularly on Masterchef as an accompaniment. It’s a great way of adding some zingy flavour without a lot of calories.

Thai Salmon Patties with Pickled Vegetable Ribbons

I had always thought that fish cakes needed potato or something to hold them together, but not so, these work beautifully. I like to make them small so that they cook quickly and the centre stays moist and pink. 

I’ve usually done the fish patties with salmon, but they would work equally well with any firm white fish or tuna or swordfish.

As an alternative to rice wine vinegar, try apple cider vinegar. I use maple syrup as it mixes in easily, but you could use coconut sugar or raw brown sugar instead. A little sweetness adds to the complexity of flavours.

Cucumber and carrots are obvious candidates for pickle, but you could use courgettes, beetroot, cauliflower or fennel as alternatives and slices of red onion instead of spring onion.

Serves 2

  • 250g salmon fillets 244 kcals
  • 2 tsp grated root ginger 4 kcals
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaf
  • 1 tsp Thai red curry paste 10 kcals
  • 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce 16 kcals
  • 1 tsp maple syrup 12 kcals
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 6 kcals
  • 1 carrot 26 kcals
  • 1/2 cucumber 18 kcals
  • 2 spring onions 10 kcals
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil 120 kcals

Put the salmon, ginger, coriander, Thai curry paste and Tamari into a food processor and whizz until the fish is minced. With damp hands, form into 6 patties. Keep them cool while you prepare the vegetables.

Mix the vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl.

Peel the carrot and cucumber into long strips or ribbons and cut the spring onion into long slivers. Add to the bowl and toss together well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the patties for a couple of minutes on each side, until just cooked through.

Serve immediately with the vegetable pickle.

Per serving: kcals 228
Carbs 12g Fat 11g 7g

For a main meal, also serve some steamed broccoli and wilted spinach.

Thai Salmon Patties with Pickled Vegetable Ribbons

This recipe is in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, available on Amazon in kindle or print format.

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup – 150 kcals per serving

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).  

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup

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

Serves 4

  • 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

 

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower Gratin – 350 calories

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower GratinWe really enjoy tasty smoked haddock on a fast day, but were getting just a tad bored with the same old simple wilted spinach, smoked haddock and poached egg that we have had so often.

IMG_1810IMG_1815So I looked online for some inspiration and found an interesting recipe on BBC Good Food, from which I developed this fast day friendly version.  Using cauliflower on top of the spinach and fish turns this into a complete meal.

Choosing a strongly flavoured cheese like parmesan means that you can use a lot less but get a fantastic flavour. 

This got the thumbs up from us both and I will definitely be making it again!

For a vegetarian version, you could use smoked tofu, which would have a similar balance of flavours. But I also think that it would be lovely with a couple of big mushrooms each and maybe some chopped walnuts in the topping and some extra cheese. 

 

 

 

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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

 

Baked Chicken and Vegetables <500 calories

I love the idea of cooking everything at the same time in a single oven tray. So simple!

The chicken is ‘washed’ with lime juice and then sprinkled with jerk spice. The mushrooms have a little olive oil in the centre and about half a clove of crushed garlic in each one. The sprouts are drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180c (fan). Roasting sprouts like this is really a great way of cooking them. I have just a few left growing in the garden, so I’m looking forward to finishing them!

This was a non-fast day for us and I served it with baked sweet potato and a knob of butter (put a skewer through the middle to help them cook more quickly. I gave them about 45 minutes).

Baked Chicken and Vegetables

Baked Chicken and Vegetables 469 kcals

 

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken leg,  eaten without the skin: 250 kcal
  • 1 tsp jerk seasoning 0 kcals
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
  • 2 medium mushrooms 8 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic 4 kcals
  • 5 cherry tomatoes 14 kcals
  • 1/2 cup brussels sprouts 19 kcals

Per serving: 469 kcals
 Carbs 8g Fat 26g Protein 49g

  • 1 sweet potato 100 kcals
  • 15g butter 108 kcals

Per serving: 208 kcals
Carbs 24g Fat 12g Protein 2g

Caribbean Butternut Squash Soup – 120 calories per serving

As the last of the summer vegetables get turned into ratatouille, my thoughts turn to warming winter soups and stews to see us through more chilly fast days.

One of my favourites is a spicy soup based on pumpkin or butternut squash, full of Caribbean sunshine.

butternut squash soup

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A bowl of cherries becomes….. cherry cole slaw

When faced with an abundance of something, it is well worth trying some new ideas……

Our cherry season is short and I tend to stone and freeze the majority of them, so that I can make pies, compotes, jam or whatever later on. 

Cherry Cole Slaw

I was making cole slaw to go with one of our BBQs and usually I add dried fruit, such as raisins, or maybe some chopped apple, but there was this big bow of fresh cherries in front of me, so I added some of those instead. They added just the right note of acidity and sweetness to contrast with the cabbage, carrots and creamy yogurt and mayo dressing. The borage flowers gave a rather lovely visual lift, I thought.

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. 

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