Well, I don’t know about you but I had seriously (maybe a little on purpose because I loves ‘em!) overbought on the brussel sprouts and parsnips this Christmas. This recipe is a fab way to use up your leftovers by putting them into an awesome hearty Wintery warming stew which is jam-packed with fibre, vitamins and flavour and is a perfect lunch or evening meal that is low in fat (especially if you make the vegetarian version using Quorn sossies) and really filling and therefore useful if you are on a post-Christmas/New Year weight loss programme. The sausages add some lovely meaty taste and protein and, as if the veggies didn’t fill you up enough, the pearl barley provides the carbohydrate element which will help you to feel fuller for longer post-scoff! Tasty enough to eat twice a day, if you ask me!!!
4 medium-sized good quality (at least 70% meat) pork sausages (200g)
– use the extra special Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages for a lower saturated fat or vegetarian version
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (150g)
2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (230g)
250g brussel sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed, sliced (you could use cabbage instead)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped (300g)
125g pearl barley or scotch broth mix
1.2 litre vegetable or chicken stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)
Ground black pepper
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Grill or ovenbake the sausages until brown and cooked through, allowing as much fat as possible to run off. Set aside and leave to cool.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the carrot, sprouts and parsnips and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
- Add the pearl barley or scotch broth mix and the stock.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables and pearl barley/scotch broth mix are softened. Keep the vegetables on this side of over-cooked though!
- Slice the cooked, cooled sausages and add to the stew with the chopped parsley and black pepper to taste. Stir well and serve piping hot.
Per Batch (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)
Energy 1250 kcal (5230 kJ) / 1164 kcal (4870 kJ)
Carbohydrate 126.7g / 138.7g
Total sugars 56.1g / 53.5g
Fat 60.5g / 43.2g
Saturates 17.4g / 4.8g
Protein 44.8g / 48.4g
Fibre 41.4g / 45.4g
Salt 6.1g / 8.9g
Per Serving – (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)
Energy 313 kcal (1308 kJ) / 291 kcal (1218 kJ)
Carbohydrate 31.7g / 34.7g
Total sugars 14.0g / 13.4g
Fat 15.1g / 10.8g
Saturates 4.4g / 1.2g
Protein 11.2g / 12.1g
Fibre 10.4g / 11.4g
Salt 1.5g / 2.2g
A slice of seeded bread = 120 kcal (502 kJ)
A crusty roll = 130 kcal (544 kJ)
Instead of sausages you could use shredded turkey or chicken meat, pork or beef to really help you use up those festive leftovers!
I ate a lovely, warming, filling brunch of huevos rancheros (or mexican ranch-style beans) in a Chiquitos restaurant near the O2 in London recently. This was in preparation for my ascent to the top of the O2 – that’s right, you can climb it to a viewing
platform mountaineering style and get fab views of London City and the river on a clear day (we got lucky with the weather)! Awesome fun, and the breakfast set me up a treat!
I digress! This is my own home-cooked version that I have only just got round to making 2 weeks later because I’ve not had time to soak and boil my beans!
This is a well-balanced brekkie plate with plenty of fresh anti-oxidant-rich veggies for fibre and vitamins, black beans for muscle-building protein and a bit of a kick to wake you up for the day. Who said hot breakfasts had to be bland, unhealthy, stodgy and full of saturated fat?! Black beans are high in fibre (aids weight loss because it fills you up, and boosts the health of the gut), low in fat, and contain a decent amount of iron (important for building red blood cells and preventing anaemia), folate (important for red blood cells and transport of oxygen to the muscles and prevents spina bifida in unborn children), magnesium and potassium.
If you have to get the dried black beans that need soaking I would recommend preparing more than you need as you can always freeze them once cooked for easy use at a later date.
400g black beans, cooked (use canned pinto beans, drained, if you cannot find black beans)
200ml vegetable or chicken broth, made with ½ a 10g stock cube
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 large red onion, chopped (185g)
1 large red pepper, chopped (145g)
1 clove garlic, minced (4g)
1 can chopped tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped (400g)
1 can of sweetcorn kernels (160g)
1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh coriander or cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
salt, to taste
4 tortillas (40g each)
- Soak the black beans in cold water overnight (24 hours). Place in a large saucepan, cover with double the amount of water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and leave to cook for at least 2 hours or until the beans are softened but not breaking apart. Add more water if it starts to dry out. Drain and leave to cool.
- To make the salsa, stir the tomatoes, red onions, red pepper, sweetcorn, coriander or cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, and salt to taste, together in a bowl until well blended. Cover, and refrigerate until needed (at least 1 hour).
- Place the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook 1 minute until light brown. Mix in the black beans or drained pinto beans if using these instead, the broth and 1 tbsp. jalapeno pepper. Simmer until beans are heated through (about 5 minutes). Turn off heat, and keep warm.
- Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5. Place tortillas on a baking sheet with greaseproof paper underneath. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until warmed through and softened. Alternatively, heat in microwave on full power for 30 – 45 seconds.
- Poach or scramble the eggs and cook to desired firmness.
- To assemble huevos rancheros, place a tortilla on each plate. Top each tortilla with black bean mixture, a layer of salsa, and an egg (or ¼ of the scrambled eggs). Serve immediately.
– Add 1 inch of chorizo, chopped into small squares = additional 68 kcal / 285 kJ
For a main meal, per portion:
– Add 20g of grated cheddar cheese = additional 83kcal / 347 kJ
– 50g of shredded roast chicken (instead of the eggs) = 89 kcal / 372 kJ
– 50g of shredded roast pork (instead of the eggs) = 91 kcal / 381 kJ
– 50g of shredded roast beef (instead of the eggs) = additional 110 kcal / 460 kJ
per whole recipe
Energy 1495 kcal / 6255 kJ
Total sugar 53.3g
Salt 8.4g (check canned beans for added salt)
per serving (if serving 4)
Energy 374kcal / 1565 kJ
Total sugar 13.3g
Salt 2.1g (check canned beans for added salt)
Serves 2 (just double ingredients and use a larger baking dish to feed 4)
This is a real humdinger of a leftovers dish. It allows you to use up your roasted chicken meat leftovers (or omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish) and any odds and ends of Mediterranean vegetables that you might have (courgettes, aubergine and mushrooms would work just as well in this dish).
The real beauty of this lasagne is that you can pack in as many vegetables as you like and, because you are roasting them, they don’t need to be in perfect form – you can catch them as they’re starting to wilt or shrivel a tad and they’ll still taste delicious roasted in oil and covered in pesto. No need for food wastage and, even better than that, one portion packs in half of your daily fibre requirements and is low in salt and saturated fats. It would make a great post exercise meal as it is high in protein to help repair muscle. Serve with a salad or some steamed green beans or mange tout.
110g lasagne sheets (approximately 6 sheets)
1 tbsp. olive oil (10g)
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes (700g)
1 medium red or yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped (160g)
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (150g)
100g pre-roasted chicken, shredded
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
125g fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. green pesto (25g)
2 tbsp. reduced fat crème fraiche (30g)
30g grated parmesan cheese (you could use a mature cheddar if you prefer)
Freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Boil a kettle of water. Place the lasagne sheets (separated from each other) in a large deep flat dish and cover with the boiled water. Place in the bottom of the oven to allow them to soften and par-cook in the hot water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook and break apart (they shouldn’t do).
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep roasting tray in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes and stir to coat them in oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- Add the chunks of onion and pepper to the roasting butternut squash. Stir all the veg round to coat in oil and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 20 minutes, until all are softened and starting to brown slightly.
- Add the chicken, pine-nuts, garlic and chilli to the roasted veg and stir round to coat in oil. Place the shredded spinach leaves on top of the veg and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 5-10 minutes to wilt the spinach and allow the vegetables to become infused with the chilli and garlic flavours.
- Remove the roasted chicken and vegetables from the oven (leave the oven on though cos the lasagne is going back in!) and stir the pesto through until they are all coated.
- Remove the lasagne sheets from the oven and drain off the water carefully, making sure the sheets don’t stick to each other. Hopefully they are par-cooked at this point.
- Start to assemble the lasagne. Place half of the roasted ingredients in a square or rectangular glass dish (one roughly 7” x 7” / 18cm x 18cm). Place half of the lasagne sheets on top – you can cut them to make them fit.
- Add the rest of the roasted ingredients on top and then another layer of lasagne sheets. Squash it all down as much as possible to allow the juices in the veg to cook the pasta through.
- In a separate bowl mix the low fat crème fraiche, half of the grated parmesan and nutmeg together and add black pepper to your own taste.
- Spoon this mixture on top of the lasagne and spread out smoothly to the edges. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan evenly over the top.
- Return to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
Per whole lasagne
Energy 1132 kcal / 4737 kJ
Total sugar 62.5g
Per portion (serves 2)
Energy 566 kcal / 2369 kJ
Total sugar 31.3g
There was a chill back in the UK air again this morning (at least in Yorkshire) and it felt kinda autumnal again which to me means only one thing for lunch….SOUP!
This is a really quick, classic, tasty soup to make with ingredients that you are likely to have in stock in your kitchen cupboards and freezers. Peas are a really excellent source of fibre which is helpful in regulating blood glucose levels, keeping cholesterol levels normal and keeping your bowels regular. In addition peas also contain plenty of vitamins including decent levels of iron, calcium, zinc and Vitamin C.
You could make this soup vegetarian by leaving out the ham or gammon. If you want to make alterations to the meaty elements you could use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and substitute the ham or gammon for shredded bacon rashers (grilled before adding to the soup).
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)
1 small chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 small onions, chopped fine (120g)
1 litre vegetable stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)
450g frozen peas
1-2 tablespoons of fresh or frozen mint leaves, chopped fine (20g)
1 tsp. mint sauce
100g thick cut, pre-cooked good quality lean ham or gammon, cut into cubes
Ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for approximately 30 seconds, just to infuse the oil with some flavour.
- Add the chopped onion and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
- Add the stock with the peas and fresh mint. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes – to cook the peas.
- Stir in the fresh mint, mint sauce and black pepper.
- Remove approximately one quarter of the soup and use a blender to blend the remaining three quarters.
- Mix all of the soup back together. Return to the heat, add the ham cubes and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes.
Energy 755 kcal (3159 kJ)
Total sugars 19.0g
Per Serving (Serves 4)
Energy 189 kcal (790 kJ)
Total sugars 4.8g
1 x tbsp. of reduced fat crème fraiche = 70 kcal / 293 kJ
1 x tbsp. of low fat natural yogurt = 25 kcal / 105 kJ
A crusty roll = 130 kcal / 545 kJ
Seafood is naturally low in saturated fat. Despite popular belief foods high in natural cholesterol, like eggs and prawns, DO NOT have an effect on our own bodies’ cholesterol levels. That means good news for all of you wanting to keep an eye on your blood cholesterol – you can still enjoy these tasty high protein foods (but keep watching out for saturated fat which has much more of a negative effect on your cholesterol levels.
This tastes great served with some garden peas, steamed mange tout or other green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or broccoli and this will add in some extra fibre and vitamins too. You can add any combination of seafood you like – try cockles, whelks, white fish or salmon as an alternative to any of the seafood I have suggested.
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red chilli (fresh or dried) – remove seeds if you don’t like spicy heat
2 small red or white onions, finely chopped (120g)
1 stick of celery, finely chopped (30g)
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (160g)
300g Arborio (risotto) rice
1 litre fish stock (made with a 10g fish stock cube)
150ml white wine
Juice of one lime
150g peeled prawns (fresh or frozen)
150g mussels, out of shell (fresh or frozen)
100g squid, chopped into bite size pieces (fresh or frozen)
10g fresh dill, chopped
Zest of one lime
Ground black pepper to taste
- Prepare and chop all vegetables. Zest and juice the lime and set both aside separately for later.
- Make the fish stock and mix in a large jug with the white wine and lime juice.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Fry garlic, chilli, onion and pepper for 8-10 minutes until slightly browned, stirring all the time to prevent burning.
- Add the Arborio rice and fry for a further 2 minutes.
- Add a little of the stock mixture at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more stock.
- When you have added about ¾ of the stock, add the seafood and stir through.
- Continue adding the stock liquid a little at a time until the rice is plumped up and the liquid starts to form a creamy consistency. This may take 15-20 minutes, from start to finish.
- Stir in the lime zest and dill and black pepper to taste.
- Serve with a side of green salad, garden peas or steamed mange tout.
Per whole recipe
Energy 1870 kcal / 7824 kJ
Total sugar 22.2g
Per portion (serves 4)
Energy 468 kcal / 1958 kJ
Total sugar 5.6g
With the weather starting to turn warmer, even if only sporadically and for 2-3 days out of every month in the UK, this weekend was so beautiful that it just wasn’t soupy weather! I decided to make a nice salad instead – my staple lunch during the summer months being a plate of different mixed salads like those you might see in a health food/wholefood cafe.
You can use green or brown lentils in this salad and these types are especially good in salads and casseroles because they hold their shape well after cooking (yellow and red lentils or split peas have a tendency to go mushy making them better in soups and dahls). They also lend it a really nice crunchy texture and nutty flavour which goes beautifully with the crunchy fresh veggies and parsley.
I would eat this salad as a meal on its own, maybe with a tbsp. of low fat hummus, lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and ½ pitta bread. I have eaten it on the side of a main meal such as baked fish or chicken, lasagne, moussaka or as part of a salad plate with other salads in which case I would have 1-2 tbsps. of salad rather than a large plateful. I have included the nutritional information for the whole recipe here so that you can make your own calculations if you decide to portion the salad differently; e.g. if you were to eat it on the side of a main meal rather than as a salad meal in its own right.Lentils are high in fibre, protein and a multitude of vitamins and minerals including iron, folate and calcium. They are low in fat and, because of the high fibre and protein contents, they can really help your stomach to feel fuller for longer making them a great addition to a lunch time meal as this can curb those afternoon snack cravings.
Normally you would find lentils dried and sold in bags ready for cooking although some supermarkets and specialist food stores such as south Asian supermarkets sell them already cooked in cans. I have used dried lentils so I needed to cook them – if you used canned lentils just miss out the first step and be aware that the canning process probably added extra salt to the overall nutritional content as a preservative.
200g dried green lentils or 2 cans cooked, drained green lentils (480g)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped (or equivalent amount of chopped spring onions)
1 garlic clove, finely diced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 tbsp. white wine or cider vinegar
1 tsp. runny honey
2 tsp. lemon juice
Some grated lemon zest (optional)
Ground black pepper
1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 3 times the amount of cold water as lentils. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat and boil gently for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but retain a bit of crunch. Remove from heat, drain off the water and allow to cool for later.
2. Finely chop the vegetables and parsley – these will stay raw so small is better unless you particularly like to eat large chunks of raw onion! Mix these together in a big bowl.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest (if using) and black pepper. Make sure the honey is well blended with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the cooked lentils once they have cooled sufficiently.
5. Stir everything together and put the salad in the fridge for an hour or two to allow the dressing to infuse the vegetables with flavour.
per whole recipe
Energy 870 kcal / 3645 kJ
Total sugar 31.7g
Salt 0.1g (check canned lentils for added salt)
per serving (if serving 4)
Energy 220 kcal / 911 kJ
Total sugar 7.9g
Salt Trace (check canned lentils for added salt)
Stay with me, now….! It may sound strange, and that is exactly what I thought when I found the recipe in the Hamlyn book of soups and that was exactly why I had to try it out! I have an inquisitive tummy!
Also, having lived in Boston, Massachusetts for 1.5 years as a vegetarian I was anxious to try out a fishy chowder of any description as I had missed out on the Boston classic, clam chowder! Smoked fish is much easier to come by when you’re slap-bang in the middle of the North of England!
Well, I tried and I liked very much! I have since made it with 3 different types of smoked fish I had lurking in my freezer and all were equally as creamy, smoky, fragrant and delicious.
It tastes a lot like a fish pie, only the potatoes are not mashed but included in the soup so they soak up all the scrumptious smoky flavours. If you’re a fan of fish pie then I highly recommend you try this.
I have tweaked the recipe a bit, adding sweetcorn and prawns and missing out the butter which it used to fry the onion and potato to make it a little lower in saturated fat, although I imagine it does add a little something to the flavour. Parsley might be a nice addition too. If you wanted this as a main meal you could cook the potatoes separately and mash for a topping, reduce the amount of milk to around half, add in some cornflour to thicken the sauce and double the amount of fish and prawns. Nom!
1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)
2 x small-medium sized onions, peeled and chopped (220g)
350g potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
800ml semi-skimmed milk
1 fish stock cube (10g cube)
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Black or white pepper to taste
250g smoked white fish (haddock, cod, river cobbler, etc.)
150g spinach (fresh or frozen)
100g sweetcorn, canned or frozen
100g large prawns, peeled and cut in half
- Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
- Add the diced potatoes and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the potatoes are browned slightly.
- Add the milk, bay leaves, nutmeg and pepper.
- Place the fish fillets whole in the milk. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove the fish fillets and set aside until cooled. Continue to allow the milk to simmer to cook the potatoes.
- When cooled, remove any skin and bones from the fish. Flake the fish and stir it back into the milk.
- Add the spinach and sweetcorn, stirring it into the milk. If frozen simmer for 3-5 minutes until defrosted.
- Add the prawns and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
Energy 1337 kcal (5594 kJ)
Total sugars 63.4g
Per Serving (Serves 4)
Energy 335 kcal (1402 kJ)
Total sugars 15.9g
A crusty roll (50g) = 130 kcal / 545 kJ
1 rasher of bacon, grilled and sliced = 80 kcal / 335 kJ
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled, chopped into 4-8 pieces = 80 kcal / 335 kJ
A moat of mashed potato, made with semi-skimmed milk (2 scoops or 120g) = 125kcal / 523 kJ
Suggested Ear Candy
I was feeling surprisingly nautical so had to stick on some Seasick Steve – gotta stick with the theme!
You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks by Seasick Steve
Of course, if you really wanted to stretch that sea-faring theme as far as possible there’s always Climie Fisher!
Love Changes Everything by ClimieFisher