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.
The aubergine is native to South and East Asia and is thought to have been introduced to the Mediterranean area by the Arabs or Africans in the middle ages. The first written record of it in England was in the 16th century when an English botany book of 1597 wrote “This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere… bringing forth fruit of the bigness of a great cucumber….”. I love that quote – cheeky!
There are a number of variants of aubergine; small, large, round, elongated ovoid, dark purple, pink, white, yellow, green, variegated colouring. The ones normally found in the UK and US are large, cucumber-sized elongated ovoid shaped, dark purple in colour although you can certainly find the small and round versions in South Asian supermarkets.
The flesh of an aubergine can be quite bitter so lends itself well to slow roasting and frying allowing the bitter starches to break down into sugars. The flesh can absorb a lot of oil during cooking – salting it can reduce the amount absorbed and draw out some of the moisture.
The aubergine is not especially high in any vitamins or minerals but is low in fat (when uncooked) and contains a decent amount of fibre and carbohydrate. It makes for a great meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan meals as its flesh has a good firm texture and it is fantastic in curries or stuffed for example with rice, nuts, vegetables, meat and herbs and spices.
In baba ganoush it is combined with tahini, a paste made of sesame seeds (which are a really good source of a variety of minerals: copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and fibre), which puts it in league with middle-eastern dips such as hummus as an amazing accompaniment to pitta bread or vegetable sticks as a healthy low in saturated fats snack. It goes great on the side of a middle-eastern or Greek style mezze with cous cous, tabbouleh or rice, salads, falafel, hummus, olives, etc. Perfect as part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet.
4-6 aubergines (approximately 900g)
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 heaped tbsp. light tahini
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
Ground black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Smoked paprika (optional garnish)
1 red onion, finely chopped
40 black olives, chopped
- Heat oven to 150C / 300F / Gas Mark 2.
- Cut the top off the aubergines and slice them lengthways. Pour a little oil into your hands (from the 1-2 tbsp.) and massage it onto the skin side of each half aubergine. Do the same with the salt.
- Lay the aubergine halves skin side up onto a lightly greased baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 40 mins – 1 hour, until the flesh is soft.
- Scoop the soft flesh of all aubergines out into a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. olive oil, ground cumin and black pepper to taste. Blend all ingredients together. I use a billy-whizz handheld blender for this – just make sure you have a deep enough bowl so it doesn’t splatter all over your kitchen and shirt-frontage!
- Serve in a bowl topped with the chopped parsley. Have the chopped red onions and black olives as an optional extra topping for people to add as they wish. Serve with toasted pitta bread.
per whole recipe (dip with parsley)
Energy 1105 kcal / 4623 kJ
Total sugar 18.8g
per serving (dip with parsley) – if serving 6
Energy 184 kcal / 770 kJ
Total sugar 3.1g
Black olives will add: 14 kcal / 59 kJ, Carbs – Trace, Fat – 1.5g, Protein – 0.1g, Fibre – 0.4g, Salt – 0.8g
Onions will add: 9 kcal / 38 kJ, Carbs – 2.0g, Fat – 0.1g, Protein – 0.3g, Fibre – 0.4g
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!
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)