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. 

November 5:2 Weekly Meal Plan

The weather is decidely cooler and today I picked the last fig in our garden. Miraculously we didn’t have a frost in October this year to bring their development to a premature halt. 

I realise that we won’t be wanting to eat so much in the way of salads, so I am looking for some other ideas for our light lunches on normal days, and some warming meals for fast days and ordinary evening meals.

I’m looking to use the following seasonal ingredients: hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, pumpkin, celeriac, brussels sprouts (tiny ones ready for tasting in the garden), parsnip, swiss chard, quince, apples, pears. There may still be some wild mushrooms to be had from the market.

So here’s the plan:-


lunch: ham, egg and chips (just a few, baked in the oven)
dinner with friends: Smoked salmon with gravadlax sauce and thinly sliced wholewheat bread; Duck breast with a maple syrup jus, celeriac and pumpkin paillasson (literally, doormats!), potato and garlic mash, beetroot relish; Apple and Quince filo layers with toasted hazelnuts, served with creme fraiche


lunch: homemade pizza and salad
Strictly TV dinner – nachos; turkey chilli enchiladas; mojito cheesecake


lunch: spicy pumpkin soup
dinner: nut loaf with oven baked vegetables, baby brussels sprouts and a wild mushroom sauce; upside down pear and ginger cake with custard

Monday – fast day

Thai style vegetable soup
pan fried red mullet with a puy lentil salad and coconut-lime sauce
apple and ginger compote with fromage blanc


lunch: leftover nut loaf with winter salad (beetroot, celery and apple)
dinner: rocket salad; Pumpkin Risotto with crispy sage leaves; upside down pear cake with walnut and maple syrup ice cream


lunch: french toast with grilled bacon and tomatoes
dinner: Pumpkin and Sausage casserole with stir-fried greens; plum and marzipan filo tartlets

Thursday – fast day

Bayonne wrapped pumpkin wedge; fish parcel with fennel; apple compote with fromage blanc

Summer Meal Plan for 5:2

The forecast is for it to be hot and sunny all this coming week, so looking to do lots of fresh salads, cooking on the BBQ, chilled desserts and making the most of summer vegetables and fruit.

Ok, off to the shops now, armed with my meal plan. I’ll see how close I can get!


thin crust wholewheat pizza with salad
fresh melon and berries

melon with cucumber, goats cheese and sundried tomatoes
BBQ salmon skewers with chargrilled courgettes and new potatoes
cherry and choc chip gelato with cherry cinnamon coulis


salad niçoise (tuna, anchovies, olives, tomatoes, egg) with sauté potatoes
melon and blueberries

lamb and apricot tagine with minted cous-cous
creme catalan au lavande

Monday – Fast Day

Fresh green salad with nuts and seeds
Griddled sardines with tomato and red onion salad
Peach and raspberry sundae (frozen fromage frais)


Salad with charcuterie, toasted walnuts and roquefort

bean and coriander dip with taco chips
griddled chicken and peppers in a tortilla wrap (fajitas)
frozen lime and coconut dessert


piedmont stuffed peppers with puy lentil salad
frozen banana ‘ice cream’

chicken skewers with satay sauce and pickled cucumber, with pilau rice
baked stuffed peaches

Thursday –  fast day

summer minestrone
crustless courgette quiche with green beans almandine and cole slaw
fresh fruit salad with fromage blanc


leftover crustless quiche with salads
peaches with blue cheese and crackers

steak haché with sauce au poivre, french fries and mixed salad
apricot frangipani tart with creme fraiche

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.

5:2 Meal Plan, week 14

The weather is taking a turn towards summer and outdoor eating becomes a possibility. Time to sort out some recipes suitable for barbecues and lunches al fresco.

This week there should be plenty of asparagus, strawberries, watercress, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb and radishes. Early peas and broad beans I hope. Maybe even some early new potatoes? Perhaps with some spring lamb and lovely fresh mint sauce…

Update after shopping: No peas, broad beans, watercress or new potatoes in Lauzerte market! But I did get some lovely looking sprouting broccoli and some fresh goat’s cheese and a goodly slice of Cantal cheese. In the supermarket I got a handsome pineapple from Ghana, so that will be our ‘interesting’ fruit this week, together with some rhubarb from the garden. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a tagliatelle made with wholewheat flour, so I will use that for one of my favourite ways of cooking sprouting brocolli. My meal plan is updated accordingly.

This week I sowed lots of squash, courgettes, aubergines and a few more peppers and tomatoes. I find myself starting to hanker for those summer fruiting vegetables. They are available in the supermarkets, grown in Morocco or Spain, but they will be really appreciated when they are picked fresh from the garden, from late June onwards…. Meanwhile I still have some frozen and sun dried tomatoes to bring some summer sun to my dishes.

No pictures today, as I am writing this on my iPad. I may add some later. Let’s see if I can get my first sentence out without a typo in it, for a change! (Ed: no chance, but fixed now…!)

Our usual pizza for lunch, dressed for spring with rocket, chorizo and mozzarella and served with a mixed salad

Goats Cheese Toasts with Bean and Radish Topping
Veggie Burgers and wok Brocc with a Pineapple, Red Pepper and Spring Onion Salsa
Strawberries and Crème Fraîche

Ham and Leek stuffed Pancakes with a creamy Cheese Sauce, with a Fennel and Radish salad

Herb crusted Lamb cutlets with steamed Vegetables and minted potatoes followed by Spiced Pineapple with cinnamon Fromage Blanc

Monday – Fast Day
Boiled Egg

Lettuce, Pea and Sorrel soup (I’ll use frozen peas and frozen sorrel for this)
Baked Salmon with a Caper dressing and steamed seasonal Vegetables
Rhubarb and Orange compote

Crustless Asparagus and Cantal Quiche with Salad

Curried Carrot Soup
Tandoori Chicken skewers with Raita, Tomato and Red Onion Chutney and home made wholewheat Chappati
Rhubarb Fool

Home made Scotch Eggs with a Beetroot, Apple and Celery salad

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Chilli Flakes, drizzled with Basil Oil
Pineapple and Ginger Dessert

Thursday – Fast Day
Yogurt with Prunes
Smoked Haddock and Spinach Soufflé
Fresh Strawberry Blancmange

Falafels with Cabbage, Pepper and Raisin Salad and a Tahini dressing

Oven Baked Sticky Chicken with Red Carmargue Rice and Red Beans with Salad
Mirabelle Plum Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

5:2 Meal Plan (week 13)

My husband has reached his target and will now be aiming to maintain his current weight – which is 16 kilos less than he started the New Year with. Really amazing progress! I still have a little over 3kg to go before I can join him on maintenance, but am very pleased with having lost 9.8 kg so far.

So this week is going to be interesting. We will still both be doing 5:2, but he will need to be eating more on normal days than he has been used to recently. Will he still have the motivation to do fast days? As we are both doing this for long-term health benefits, the answer is yes. 

In any case, the strategy I have used up to now – to make our meals totally delicious and not like we are being deprived of anything, means that we both enjoy and look forward to eating every day, how ever many calories we are allowed.

So normal days now will be 1200 for me and 2500 calories him, with fast days of 500/600

Off to the market tomorrow, to see what seasonal veg I can add to the menu – asparagus, swiss chard, carrots, maybe some broad beans….. and better buy some potatoes too! 

In the freezer I have some plums that I want to use up, so I’m going to try a few different things with them. I need to make some room in the hope that this will be a good year for cherries….

Saturday ~ 

  • lunch:
    • thin crust wholewheat pizza with rocket salad
  • dinner – leftovers from last night’s dinner party
    • Hummus and Baba Ganoush with Seedy Flatbread and Crudités
    • Spanish style Meatballs with Quinoa and Bulgur Tabbouleh
    • Apple and Quince Paste Filo Feuilletes with Vanilla Ice Cream

Sunday ~

  • lunch
    • Smoked Herring Caesar Salad
    • Fresh Fruit (plus Cheese and Crackers)
  • dinner
    • Herb Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Skordalia, Beetroot Relish and Green Vegetables
    • Poached Plums with Custard and Amaretti Biscuits

Monday ~ Fast Day

  • breakfast:
    • Scrambled Egg with Smoked Trout
  • dinner
    • Mushroom and Celery Soup
    • Marinated Tuna with Pumpkin and Asparagus stir-fry
    • Poached Plums with Fromage Blanc

Tuesday ~

  • Lunch
    • Sausages with Leek and Carrot Gratin
    • Fresh Fruit
  • Dinner
    • Lentil, Coconut and Spinach Soup
    • Sardines on Toasted Grainy Bun
    • Mirabelle Plum and Ginger Brik Pastry Cups

Wednesday ~

  • lunch
    • Tofu and Green Bean Curry with Brown Rice
    • Fresh Fruit
  • dinner
    • Lentil, Coconut and Spinach Soup
    • Thai Beef Salad (with Noodles)
    • Plum Oaty Crumble with Ice Cream/Fromage Blanc

Thursday ~ Fast Day

  • breakfast
    • Natural Yogurt with Prunes
  • dinner
    • Simple Vegetable Soup
    • Fish baked in a Spiced Masala Sauce
    • Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Salad
    • Plum Kulfi with Plum Coulis

Friday ~

  • lunch
    • Veggie Burgers (with/without bun) with Salad 
    • Fresh Fruit, Cheese
  • dinner
    • Sticky Ginger Chicken (with Jacket Potato) and Light Cole Slaw
    • Fromage Blanc with Plum Coulis and Pistachios

5:2 Meal Plan – a springtime Mediterranean meander

As usual I have more ideas than days in the week! I’m still much inspired by Meditteranean flavours, from Morocco to the Middle East

I have a little more rhubarb to harvest and am expecting to find better asparagus this week. Not sure what else my trip to the market will bring, hopefully some broad beans….


Saturday – a Middle Eastern evening

Paul Hollywood’s flatbread and the recipe that John Torode cooked on Masterchef this week looked great, so we will have a middle-eastern inspired evening

  • Baba Ganoush with Sesame Flatbread
  • Lamb Cutlets with Skordalia and a Beetroot and Jalapeno relish
  • Honey and Walnut Ice Cream, with Apple and Quince Filo wafers


Sunday – leave room for the chocolate!

  • Asparagus with shaved Parmesan 
  • Spatchcocked Herby Chicken with Spring Vegetables
  • Apple and Blackberry Filo cups

Broad BeansMonday – Fast Day

  • Scrambled Egg
  • fresh Asparagus and Lemon soup
  • Light Chicken Caesar Salad (using leftover chicken) 
  • Rhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard 

Swiss Chard 

Tuesday – Seasonal Treats

  • Fennel and Citrus salad with Sheep’s Cheese
  • Smoked Mackerel with Horseradish dressing, with Broad Bean and Lentil salad
  • Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue pots (using leftover rhubarb)




CarrotsWednesday – Morrocan spicing to the fore

  • Asparagus and Chickpea Salad
  • Chicken Tagine with preserved Lemons and Green Olives, Herbed Cous-cous
  • Plum and Almond Frangipane

Thursday – Fast Day Italiano

  • Scrambled Egg with Parma Ham 
  • Spring Minestrone Soup 
  • Baked Fish and Vegetables with Gremolata
  • Raspberry Pannacotta



Friday – exploring the Maghreb

  • Sweet Potato and Ginger Brik parcels
  • Moroccan Meatballs with Minted Bulgur Wheat
  • Cumin and Coriander Carrot Salad
  • Sliced Oranges with Dates and Pistachios
I’ve now updated last week’s meal plan with photos and calorie counts – do take a look, it was a really yummy and delicious menu  – if we can eat like that and still lose weight, then it looks like we really can stick with this way of life. I certainly feel that way and don’t ever want to see those 9 kilos again, thank you! Bye-bye, you’re no longer needed 🙂
Great news this week, that Kate Harrison is going to include one of my recipes in her new 5:2 Diet Recipe book. It should be published in the next couple of months. More news and link once available. 

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! 

5:2 Mediterranean Meal Plan for week 11

Now updated with photos and calorie counts.

Swiss ChardContinuing my tour of light and healthy Mediterranean cuisine this week, with influences from France, Morocco and Italy, but adding in a little inspiration from elsewhere to spice it up a bit.

I’ll be aiming to use asparagus and rhubarb as key seasonal ingredients. At the market this morning, I also bagged a lovely bunch of watercress, some Swiss chard and a very healthy looking bunch of pale and interesting carrots.

Behind the carrots are some early globe artichokes – my favourite way of eating these is with loads of butter, so I’d better find a more healthy recipe before I add those to my meal plan!

A few less dishes on this plan – I am finding that we often have left-overs to use up, as I am still buying and cooking more than we are actually eating!  

Rainbow Carrots

This is week 11 for us on our 5:2 diet. I am over 2/3 of the way to my target healthy weight now, having lost 8.7 kg (19lbs), which is absolutely brilliant. My husband meanwhile has lost nearly 15 kg and has revealed that there was a six pack there, all along… 🙂

So this week we’ll do another 2 fast days and the rest of the time we’re keeping light on the carbs, so as not to lose momentum – but there are plenty of delicious treats along the way, as I focus on flavour and make light but tasty versions of some of our favourite dishes to share with you.


Spring vegetables with sesame crispRed Mullet with Coconut Lime Sauce and Puy Lentil SaladRhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard

Saturday: dinner for friends ~ 550 kcals

  • Cucumber, Broad Bean, Pea and Apple Salad with Sesame Filo Crisps
  • Red Mullet with Coconut Lime sauce, Puy Lentil salad and Watercress Salad
  • Rhubarb and Orange Compote with Cardamom Custard

Sticky Marmalade Duck with Celeriac Mash and Red Onion ConfitAsparagus, Comté and Mustard Pockets




Sunday: local specialities and home grown rhubarb

  • Asparagus Filo Pastries with Grainy Mustard and Gruyere ~100 kcals
  • Sticky Marmalade Duck with Celeriac Mash, Red Onion Confit and Swiss Chard ~310 kcals
  • Fromage Blanc with Apple and Ginger ~ 120 kcals

Carrot and Cumin Salad  Baked Fish with a Mustard Masala Plum Kulfi

Monday ~ Fast Day with an Indian kick

  • Scrambled Egg with Smoked Trout ~ 130 kcals
  • Watercress Soup ~60 kcals
  • Carrot and Cumin Salad ~40 kcals
  • Fish with a Mustard Masala, served with Kachumber Salad ~200 kcals
  • Plum Kulfi ~50 kcals

Spring Minestrone Soup Turkey Saltimbocca with Celeriac and Chard RostiBeetroot and Chocolate Cake

Tuesday: Italian day

  • Summer Minestrone Soup ~100 kcals
  • Turkey Saltimbocca alla Romana with a Muscat Jus, served with Celeriac and Swiss Chard Rosti ~230 kcals
  • Beetroot and Chocolate Cake (1/2 serving) ~112 kcals

Chicory and Mushroom SaladCod with Tomato and ChorizoBlood Oranges with Dates and Pistachios

Wednesday: Moorish influences

  • Chicory and Mushroom Salad
  • Cod with Tomato and Chorizo Sauce, served with Grean Beans and French Fries
  • Sliced Blood Oranges with Dates and Pistachio

Simple Vegetable SoupStuffed Salmon Fillet with Steamed VegetablesFruity Tiramisu

Thursday ~ Fast Day Italian style

  • Vegetable Soup ~60 kcals
  • Stuffed Salmon Fillet with steamed vegetables ~225 kcals
  • Fruity Tiramisu ~120 kcals

 Baked baby Beetroot with Spiced Walnuts and Goats Cheese_MG_0918_MG_0928

Friday: a Moroccan menu with a Mexican twist

  • Baby Beetroot Salad with Spiced Walnuts and Goats Cheese ~235 kcals
  • Merguez Sausages with Cous-cous, Ginger Yogurt , Baked Butter Beans with Spinach and Carrot Salad ~225 kcals
  • Mojito Cheesecake ~175 kcals

As I go through the week, I’ll be checking my recipes and calorie-counting them, putting some of them up here on my blog. I’m also working towards my 5:2 recipe book…..


Spanish Influenced 5:2 Meal Plan for week 10

I have a lot of cookery books and browsing through them is one of my pleasures. Sitting with a pile of them beside my and thinking of a trip to Spain – I passed my book of Tapas, the little dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas over to my husband, who marked a few selections for us to try (I have the original paperback version of the book, I bet the new one is lovely with more recipes and more photos). Small dishes of wonderful ingredients, prepared to delight the palate, sounds just right when you only have a few calories to play with. Let’s see what I can do with them this week.

Seasonal food: I have glorious forced rhubarb about ready to pick. Other desserts will depend on what looks good in the market. I’m hoping to find more asparagus, despite the very chilly weather we have had the last few days. I’ll be adding some soups in too, again depending on the seasonal choices on offer. Plus I have my own quince preserve to use.

I am feeling better I think from eating less refined flour so I’m going to try making my pizza dough with wholewheat flour this week.

This meal plan will work with our intermittent fasting lifestyle and support our weight loss targets, helping us to keep to around 1200/1800 calories on a normal day and 500/600 calories on a fast day.


  • wholewheat Pizza with chorizo, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes; rocket salad
  • Tapas: Manchego Cheese and Membrillo (quince paste), Serrano Ham, Chorizo, Olives, Anchovies,
    Vegetable Stuffed Canelones (Crepes)
    Baklava and Ice Cream


  • Chicken in Garlic sauce, Asparagus salad; 
    Rhubarb Meringue Pots (adaptation of BBC Good Food recipe)
  • Albondigas (meat balls); Patatas Bravas  (spicy oven baked potatoes with tomato sauce) and Aioli (garlic mayonnaise), Cabbage, Green Pepper and Raisin salad

Watercress SaladMonday ~ Fast Day

  • Egg with Tomato and Bacon (thinking of Huevos Rancheros now…)
  • Celeriac, Saffron and Orange Soup
    Trout with Bayonne Ham and Garlic, Cumin-flavoured Carrot salad




  • Smoked Fish on Avocado
    Pork Ribs in Garlic sauce, Cauliflower Salad
  • Wholewheat Pasta with Meatballs and Tomato sauce




  • Quinoa with Asparagus and Walnuts;
    sliced Oranges
  • Chickpeas and Spinach;
    Tomato, Tuna and Egg salad


_MG_0386Thursday – fast day

  • Porridge with Berries
  • Fish in a Saffron sauce, seasonal Vegetables




  • Sausages with sweet and sour Figs, White Bean salad
  • French Onion Soup
    then there’s bound to be leftovers to use up…..

Recipes and calories counts will come later, when done!

Please see my other meal plans and recipes, also my list of what we have been eating on Fast Days.

I hope to inspire you to eat well and enjoy every day, fasting or otherwise!