5:2 Fast Day / Any Day Watercress Soup – only 60 calories

I just love the big bunches of watercress that you can buy in French markets. Watercress is rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and folic acid. A bunch like this makes an easy and delicious soup in under 30 minutes. Just the thing to break your fast with.

watercress

Watercress Soup

Serves 4, only 60 kcals per serving

  • I large bunch watercress (450g)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock, made with 10g Marigold Bouillon powder
  • 10g potato flakes
  • a grating of nutmeg

_MG_3264Discard any really coarse stalks from the watercress, as they can be too peppery.

Wash, drain and chop the remainder of the bunch, reserving a few tips for decoration.

Heat the butter in a large pan and gently sauté the onions, stirring from time to time, until softened but not coloured.

Add the chopped watercress, stock, nutmeg and the potato flakes, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Blend until smooth.

Serve with a garnish of watercress leaves, or a swirl of crème fraîche.

Watercress is rich in vitamin C, calcium, iron and folic acid.

Wholewheat Pitta

Following on from a discussion with Karen Booth, who this week presented us with wonderful looking low calorie Cajun Chicken Kebabs, I had been thinking about making my own wholewheat pitta bread, as it is impossible to buy locally in SW France and the long life packs of white pitta are rather too stodgy for my liking. Looking to see if there was a way to make them light, I got inspired by looking at The Little Loaf‘s Wholemeal Pitta Bread page.

Wholewheat Pitta - 100kcals each

So having some cubes of lamb left over from yesterday’s Lean Lamb Stir-Fry with Feta, I decided to make them into kebabs to go with pitta bread. Looking in the recipe book for my Panasonic Bread Maker, I was delighted to find that their recipe was for wholewheat flour and had no added fat

  • 250g strong wholewheat flour, preferably organic stone-ground
  • 1/2 tsp baking yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150ml water

You can’t get much simpler than that.

I left the bread-maker to do it’s Pizza Dough programme and went off for a cycle ride.

When I came back, the dough was ready. I decided to divide the mix into 8 (the recipe said 4), making each pitta just 100 kcals.

Making Wholewheat Pitta       _MG_3361

Rolled out and left to prove on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then baked in a hot oven (240c, I might do a little lower next time) for about 8 minutes, until puffed up and starting to colour.

Perfect!

Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat’s Cheese Gratin

This is what we had for lunch today – totally delicious and lovely textures. This makes a great feature of Jerusalem Artichokes, which are in season now.  Not entirely plant-based proteins, because of the goat’s cheese….

_MG_3253 Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat's Cheese Gratin _MG_3309 Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat's Cheese Gratin

Jerusalem Artichoke and Goat’s Cheese Gratin

for 2 people (but we couldn’t finish it!). 490 kcals, 12.6g protein per serving

  • 450 grams peeled or scrubbed artichokes (keep under water to stop them going brown)
  • 3 small leeks
  • a grating of fresh nutmeg and black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g shelled walnut pieces
  • 2 rounds of fresh young goat’s cheese (called Cabecou here)
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

Heat oven to 200C.

Slice the artichokes into rounds, about 5mm (1/4″) thick. Cook in boiling lightly salted water for about 3 minutes, until slightly soft. Drain.

Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until slightly coloured, then chop finely.

Trim, wash and slice the leeks finely. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the leeks and spices, stir fry for a minute or two, then add about 100ml of water. Put the lid on and lower the heat to minimum and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and luscious.

Put the leeks in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. If they have dried out, add a couple of tablespoons of water, then layer the artichokes on top. Sprinkle the nuts over and then crumble the goats cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown.

Serve with a rocket and orange salad (half an orange), dressed with the squeezed orange juice and a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.

_MG_3307

We finished our meal with Vanilla Soya Custard with Banana.

Vanila Soya Custard with Banana

Entered in At Home with Mrs M’s Recipe Link PartyMade with Love Mondays hosted by javelin warrior and Simple and in Season which is hosted this month by Caroline at Cake, Crumbs and Cooking

Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnips and Peppers

The idea here is to have the enjoyment of a roast chicken, but by using orange juice instead of fat and having other veggies instead of potatoes, the whole meal is lighter and healthier. When there are just the 2 of us for lunch, I can get several meals from an average sized bird, plus then there’s the bones to make stock with for a tasty soup.

a great alternative to a Sunday Roast - Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

a great alternative to a Sunday Roast – Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Serves 4
325 calories per serving, 22g carb, 28g protein

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lime
  • 500g pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1 med-large parsnip
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp Bisto gravy powder (optional)
  • 300 ml vegetable stock or water

Heat the oven to 180C.

Remove any visible fat from the chicken.

Peel the pumpkin or squash, the parsnip and the red onion. Trim the pepper and  chilli and remove the seeds and pith. Cut all the veggies into wedges and put into a roasting tray.

Make slivers from some of the orange and lime peel (no pith) and reserve. Lightly grate the remainder over the veggies. Squeeze the juice of the fruits and pour half over the veggies. Put the chicken on top and brush the remainder of the juice over. Rub in the jerk seasoning.

Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through, basting regularly with the juice.

Put the chicken to rest on a warm serving plate and keep the veggies warm while you make the gravy.

If there is any visible fat in the pan juices, strain it off. Add stock or water to the pan together with the orange and lime rind. I like to use a little Bisto mixed with water to make the gravy a little thicker, but it will have a good colour anyway from the jerk spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for few minutes whilst steaming other veggies to serve with it, such as julienne carrots, broccoli spears and peas.

Serve slices or portions of meat without skin, the wonderful coloured vegetables alongside and gravy with some of the peel to bring the whole dish together.

You could use sweet potato or beetroot instead of parsnip.

Based on a recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookery club book “Healthy Eating”, 1995.