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 call this Spanish Omelette because that’s what my Mum always called it when we were kids! It’s similar to a Spanish tortilla omelette but they don’t tend to have all of the extra vegetables in, just potatoes.
This is a brilliant, tasty and healthy meal that you can eat either hot or cold, for lunch or for an evening meal. It’s packed full of protein so, with the addition of the potatoes, it is very filling. It also manages to cram plenty of your 5 a day veggies in there too so there’s lots of fibre and vitamins.
If eating as an evening meal, I would have a quarter of the omelette with some side salad. If you are having it for lunch then just have a sixth but with more salad. It’s great for packed lunches too as it holds together well in Tupperware! If you want to make a vegetarian version, just leave out the bacon or you could just as easily use the Quorn veggie bacon strips. An alternative to bacon might be grilled chicken pieces / Quorn chicken pieces.
380g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
6 rashers of lean bacon, parma ham or chorizo
1.5 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil (15ml)
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and diced (100g)
½ red pepper, deseeded and diced (80g)
½ green pepper, deseeded and diced (80g)
1 courgette, cut into 1cm cubes (100g)
120g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced finely
½ red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely
100g frozen sweetcorn
100g frozen peas
2 tbsp. fresh or dried thyme
100ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp. dried mixed herbs
½ tsp. paprika
Fresh ground black pepper
50g grated cheese
1. The dish you need to fit all of these ingredients in needs to be 10.5 inches (26cm) in diameter and at least 1.5 inch (4 cm) deep. For less washing up the ideal would be to cook the omelette all in one frying pan. If you don’t have a frying pan large enough then you can use a ceramic flan/pie/tart dish with these dimensions.
2. In a saucepan, cover the cubed potatoes with boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes until softened but still firm. Drain well.
3. Grill the bacon until done, but not too crispy. Cut into strips and set aside on a plate for later.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, preferably the one you’ll use to finish cooking the omelette in, over a medium heat. Fry the potatoes for 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
5. Add the rest of the vegetables and fry for 8-10 minutes further until all are softened. Turn heat off or just keep it over a low flame.
6. Stir in the fresh or dried thyme.
7. In a jug prepare the omelette mix. Beat the 8 eggs together with the milk. Add the dried herbs, paprika and black pepper. Beat again until the herbs and spices are mixed through with the eggs.
FRYING PAN METHOD
- Heat the grill on full, allowing enough space for the frying pan to fit comfortably under the grill with the handle (especially if plastic or wooden) pointing outwards so that it does not burn.
- If you are using the frying pan to cook the omelette, return the vegetables to a medium/high heat. Stir in the bacon, if using. Spread the vegetables as evenly as possible over the base of the pan. Pour the omelette mixture over the vegetables and allow it to settle down into the spaces.
- Cook the base of the omelette until you can see the edges browning – approximately 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top of the omelette.
- Place the frying pan under the grill. Leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Stick a knife into the centre of the omelette. If it comes out without raw egg on it, it’s done!
FLAN/PIE DISH METHOD
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Use just a little oil to grease the flan dish.
- If you are using a flan or pie dish, stir the bacon into the vegetables. Spread the vegetables as evenly as possible over the base of the pan. Pour the omelette mixture over the vegetables and allow it to settle down into the spaces.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top of the omelette. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes, until the omelette is firm on top.
- Stick a knife into the centre of the omelette. If it comes out without raw egg on it, it’s done!
(Per whole omelette)
Energy 1877 kcal / 7854 kJ
Total Sugars 33.3g
Saturated Fat 35.2g
(Per serving, serves 4 (6))
Energy 470 kcal / 1963 kJ (313 kcal / 1309 kJ)
Carbohydrate 31.4g (20.9g)
Total Sugars 8.3g (5.6g)
Fat 26.0g (17.4g)
Saturated Fat 8.8g (5.9g)
Protein 28.0g (18.7g)
Fibre 4.3g (2.9g)
Salt 1.9g (1.3g)
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)
Spring has sprung…at last!…in the U.K. The leaves are finally starting to appear on all of the trees, I have finally spotted some ducklings and goslings on the canal, the sun is making the occasional appearance and there is blue sky up above us at least parts of the day on most days! We have even turned the central heating off and removed the electric blanket from our bed for the first time in about 5 months!
In honour of this lovely spring weather and the sheer joy on people’s faces that we are finally feeling warm enough to remove our scarves and hats I decided to make a spring-like soup today because, let’s face reality, how long is it going to last?! I had to ride the warmer vibes while I could before it starts clouding over and raining again – good old Blighty!
I had a lot of green veggies to use, some fresh and some not so much although they were in no way past their prime! I found a couple of lovely recipes for Minestrone Verde soup, a minestrone soup hailing from Italy traditionally made with asparagus, lots of greens, beans and herbs and rice instead of pasta.
I made a few adjustments to the recipes, using my habitual improvisation skills quite a lot, because I didn’t have asparagus, cabbage or any parmesan and I liked the idea of using up some macaroni that I own but never really use! Instead of asparagus I used a courgette, in place of cabbage I used broccoli and to make up for the parmesan I used some pesto.
This is a really lovely, chunky, filling soup – more of a stew or broth really. I think parmesan would add a little something to it and if I had asparagus I would definitely add this as it is traditional and a mighty tasty veg to boot. I think this would serve equally well as an evening meal. As it’s so filling it’s not really necessary to eat bread as well (the pasta and beans are more than satisfying for the growling hunger). This is packed full of fibre, vitamin C and protein, so great for an after-exercise lunch, and because of its satisfaction rating it should help with weight loss too if you can avoid eating additional carbohydrate (bread) with it.
1.5 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (15g)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (6g)
1 large courgette, ends trimmed, sliced and quartered (260g)
1 leek, ends trimmed and sliced (150g)
1 x small white onion, diced (85g)
2 x sticks celery, sliced (100g)
½ head broccoli (flowers and stalks), diced into small chunks (185g)
1.5 cans peeled plum tomatoes, chopped (600g)
1000ml vegetable stock (made using 1x10g stock cube)
210g green beans, topped and tailed, sliced into ½ inch pieces
200g macaroni or broken pasta
150g frozen peas
120g butter beans (½ can, drained)
195g broad beans (1 small can, drained)
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped, (12g)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped (10g)
2 tbsp. green pesto (52g)
Black pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan – make it really large because I had to transfer mine into a wok halfway through because there was no room for beans! – heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with flavour.
- Fry the courgette, leek, onions, celery and broccoli for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them burning. Cook until they are softened but not browned.
- Add the canned tomatoes, stock, green beans and pasta. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the peas, butter beans, broad beans, parsley, basil, pesto and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the green beans and pasta are softened.
Energy 1770 kcal (7405 kJ)
Total sugars 51.8g
Per Serving (Serves 6)
Energy 295 kcal (1234 kJ)
Total sugars 8.6g
1 level tbsp. grated/shaved parmesan (10g) = 42 kcal / 176 kJ
Suggested Ear Candy
After listening to The Apples in Stereo last week and loving it so much I did a bit of research to try and find similar bands. Amazon recommended me a band who have been around for a while called Beulah so I picked up one of their albums ( When Your Heartstrings Break).
Cooking this soup was the first chance I got to listen to it – I liked it! It didn’t remind me of The Apples in Stereo though, more reminiscent of Pavement or Built to Spill.
There’s one obvious alternative to listen to whilst cooking up a storm with this soup….Life is a Minestrone by 10cc!