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Serves 4

Winter root vegetables - packed full of fibre and vitamins

Winter root vegetables – packed full of fibre and vitamins

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


Scotch broth mix - full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss

Scotch broth mix – full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss


  • 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)

(Serves 4)

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



Try with:

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!



Rich in antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals

Rich in antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals

Some U.S. research has found that roasting cashews appears to increase the antioxidant activity in these delicious nuts – as well as making them more tasty, in my opinion!

However, roasting them was also found to decrease the amount of flavenols in the nuts, chemical substances that are helpful in preventing heart disease (such as those found in red wine).

Just goes to show that research is a mixed bag and that most food preparation methods will have good and bad effects on the food we eat!

Cashew nuts contain an array of healthy vitamins and mineral; vitamin K (good for bone health and immunity) as well as the minerals magnesium (good for healthy blood supply to the nerves and brain), copper (good for brain function and involved in the break down of fats in the blood) and zinc (helps fight infection by preventing bacterial colonisation).

Cashew nuts also have a good array of healthy fatty acids to keep cholesterol levels normal and blood vessels healthy.  We do need to be aware that, although these are healthy, unsaturated fats, they still mean that cashews are high in energy (calories) so portion control is advisable.

Carry on with a balanced, varied diet high in vegetables and fruit, containing fibre (18-24g/day), sources of low fat dairy, starchy carbohydrate (55%), protein (15%) and some healthy fats (25% max) and you can’t go far wrong.

Research Article: Effect of Roasting on Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activities of Whole Cashew Nuts, Kernels, and Testa : Neel Chandrasekara and Fereidoon Shahidi : 2011

 Of all the vegetables carrots contain the biggest serving of the vitamin beta-carotene.

carroteyesBeta-carotene is found in many fruits and vegetables with a yellow or red colouring such as mangoes, peaches, red peppers and tomatoes as well as green leafy vegetables and broccoli. It is converted by the body into retinol which is a form of Vitamin A.
One of retinol’s many uses in our bodies is helping the eyes to adjust to the dark. Ensuring we have a good intake of Vitamin A will mean that our eyes adjust quicker when entering a dark room.
Cooking carrots makes them softer, easier to digest and allows the beta-carotene to be more easily used by our bods. So there really is some science behind carrots helping you to see in the dark! Get nibbling, doc!

Dr Carrot

This image shows a few dried mushrooms.

Melange of dried mushrooms

Mushrooms contain an astounding array of vitamins and minerals including B Vits B6, Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin and Panthothenic Acid as well as Folate, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Copper, Magnesium and Selenium.
They are also really high in water and fibre, making them a great ‘filler’ to pad out your meals, make you feel fuller for longer and so good for weight-loss.