Serves 1 – 2
Yet again in my house it’s time to start properly meal-planning and using up some of those ingredients in the freezer drawer – this occurs maybe 3 times a year and encourages me to get creative with store-cupboard/fridge/freezer ingredients and look up recipes online or in my many, dusty, mostly unused cook books! Quite often these are some of my tastiest creations and I feel inspired to get creative in the kitchen again – for a little while anyway!
I had some whole frozen trout lurking in my middle drawer and so, using a recipe found online and adapting it a little for frozen herbs I had in storage, I got all chef-y and made myself some protein-dense, low-in-saturated-fats baked trout for tea!
Trout is one of those magical ‘oily’ fish we hear so much about – rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have been found to have heart healthy properties such as decreasing triglyceride levels in the blood, slowing the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaques and lowering blood pressure. They have also been shown to improve the risk factors and heart health of those people who have already suffered from heart attacks or stroke.
I’d recommend serving this, as I did, with a fresh salsa made from a mixture of chopped herbs and salad ingredients. I used cucumber, tomatoes, sugar-snap peas, mangetout, radishes, celery, broccoli, green and black olives, coriander and parsley and a light dressing of white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. The whole meal around 500 kcal. You could also add some delicious lightly buttered new potatoes or roasties too.
1 whole trout, gutted and cleaned out
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1tbsp. fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
½ lemon, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil or olive oil based frying spray
½ tsp. salt
1-2 cups white wine, for cooking (top up during cooking if needed – not you, the fish!!!)
Preheat the oven to 240C / 475F / Gas Mark 9 (very hot).
- Finely chop the herbs and mix in a bowl with the minced garlic and paprika.
- Stuff the trout with 2/3 of the herb and garlic mixture.
- Place the lemon slices inside the trout on top of the herbs.
- Put the olive or spray oil in your hand and rub both sides of the fish with it, then rub the salt into the skin.
- Top the fish with the remaining herbs and garlic and squeeze any remaining lemon juice onto the fish too.
- Place the fish, herb-side up, on a raised slatted tray (I used the tray from my grill pan) over a deep baking tray. Pour the wine into the bottom of the baking tray.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin of the trout is crisped up nicely.
Per Whole Trout (oven-baked with olive oil)*
Energy 287 kcal / 1200 kJ
Total sugar 0.3g
The above nutritional information is assuming that you used olive oil to bake the fish with. If you use spray oil you will save approximately 70 kcal / 293 kJ, 8.0g fat and 1.2g saturated fat.
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)
If you love food and hate the idea of wasting anything then I am starting a series of ‘Waste Not Want Not’ blog posts, in honour of the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ national campaign to get people shopping and cooking smart to prevent food waste and save people money.
In the UK the average household throws away £480 of food waste per year (£680 for a family with 2 children) and almost half of this is estimated to be food that we could have eaten. The foods we waste the most are vegetables, fruit, drinks and bakery items such as bread and cakes. A lot of the wastage is down to either preparing too much food and having to throw it away or buying too much food in the first place.
The Love Food Hate Waste website has some brilliant ideas, including recipes and ways to store food better, to prevent waste and save us all money.
Here are my suggestions for something that tends to sit in the fridge for a long time in our house….the humble jar of mint sauce (please note, this is not the same as mint jelly – mint sauce is more of a vinegar-based dressing usually used with lamb).
1. Courgette and mint salad
- Trim the ends off 1 courgette and grate it lengthways into wide(ish) strips.
- Thinly slice 4 spring onions.
- Make a dressing out of 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 2-3 tsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled), fresh black pepper and a tsp. of mint sauce.
- Mix courgette into the dressing.
- You could add bits of diced red pepper too.
2. Pea, Mint and Ham Soup
This is a recipe I have previously posted on Relish Health’s blog (September 2013)
3. Yogurt and mint dip
Mix 4 tbsps of low fat plain or greek yogurt with 1 tsp of mint sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, ¼ – ½ tsp of ground chilli powder and a handful of coriander chopped fine.
Use this as a salad dressing for tinned chickpeas mixed up with diced spring onions, red pepper, and shredded roast chicken or as a dip for falafel or samosas. If you want to have a thinner sauce, blend – it will go a nice shade of green.
4. Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce into a portion of fresh or frozen garden peas to serve as a side to your sunday roast.
5. Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce with 1/2 – 1tsp of melted butter or olive-oil based spread. Dress some boiled new potatoes with this mixture and serve with your sunday roast or on the side of some baked or grilled white fish (haddock, cod, bass, bream, etc.)
This is, essentially, a plug of my breakfast from this morning but it was delicious, balanced and healthy fulfilling all major food groups! Figs are a really good source of fibre so great for lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation (sorry, perhaps not the best breakfast topic but an important one none-the-less!). They also contain a good amount of potassium which can help to keep the blood pressure normalised – potassium is found in most fruit and vegetables in varying quantities so if you’re eating your 5-a-day then you’re probably getting enough potassium.
If you can’t find fresh figs then you could use dried ones but the texture and flavour of fresh figs is definitely more subtle, sweet and fresh. If you wanted to substitute the cinnamon pancake for an American-style plain or lemon flavoured one that would work just as well or you could make your own thin (English or French-style) pancake. To keep the calories similar just make sure the weight of the pancake is no more than 65g and that you don’t use too much fat when cooking – 1 tsp. of oil or butter in a hot pan should do.
INGREDIENTS (per person)
1 american style cinnamon pancake (65g)
2 tbsps of reduced fat creme fraiche or low fat greek yogurt
2 sliced fresh figs
1-2 tsp. of flaked or chopped almonds (or about 6 whole)
1 tsp runny honey
pinch of ground cinnamon
There’s not much to it really!
* Lightly toast the pancake if you’ve bought a pre-prepared one (mine were from the Asda bakery counter, but any other brands would do or you could make your own – don’t use too much fat to cook them)
* Layer the creme fraiche or greek yogurt on top (mine was reduced fat creme fraiche at around 50kcal per 2 tbsps)
* Layer the sliced fresh figs in an attractive manner on top – or simply chuck them on! Fresh figs can be pricey but if you look out for them around autumn (fall) time then they are a bit cheaper – I got 4 for £1
* Throw the almonds over the figs, drizzle the honey on top and sprinkle the cinnamon over everything
* Serve and enjoy – mine was wolfed down in less than 2 minutes!
Energy 455 kcal / 1904 kJ
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