Vension loin steak with a blackberry sauce

IMG_1269Venison is another meat which contains lots of protein and little fat as well as offering great “calorie value” at around 100 calories per 100g of raw meat.

It’s not a meat that we come across very often, but recently we dropped into a local Farm Shop – Lockey Farm Shop, and thought we’d buy some to try.  The cost was around £7 for a 250g loin steak, which is on a par with fillet steak – one loin steak made two good sized portions.

I searched online to find a suitable sauce – and came up with this blackberry based one, which was quick and easy to make.  We just happened to have a few blackberries left over in the freezer from last autumn (or perhaps the autumn before that one!)

The 110g steak worked out at just 118 calories, the blackberry sauce was 94 calories.  Teamed alongside some roast potatoes, mashed swede and carrot and my favourite combo of stir fried leek and cabbage it made a colourful, healthy and low calorie meal.

Recipe – Blackberry Sauce


Garlic, Raw, Average        –    1 Clove/3g

Balsamic Vinegar             –    1 Tbsp/15g

Olive Oil                            –    7ml

Redcurrant Jelly               –    2 Tbsp/25g

Blackberries, Frozen       –    1 Serving/80g

Beef Stock Pot                 –    ½ Pot/14g

Water                              –    150ml

Peel and crush the garlic clove. Mix the stock pot concentrate with 150ml of boiling water.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the garlic and gently fry for 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, then pour in the stock and redcurrant jelly.

Stir over quite a high heat to blend everything together, then add the blackberries and carry on cooking until they soften.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal).   94.1

Protein (g).  0.8

Carbohydrate (g).  13.1

Fat (g).   3.9

Fruit & Veg.   0.6

Fibre (g).   2.2

If you’re interested in the nutritional profile of the venison:

Nutrition Profile Venison, Steak, Raw, Average

                             Per 100g        Per Serving (110g)

Calories (kcal)        107.7                      118.4

Protein (g)                22.8                         25

Carbohydrate (g)         0                           0

Sugars (g)                      0                          0

Fat (g)                          1.9                      2.1

Saturates (g)              0.9                         1

Fibre (g)                        0                         0

Sodium (g)               0.055                 0.0605


Vegetable Curry with Mooli Radish 189 calories

Curry portion 189 cals, wholegrain rice, 50g dry weight 178 cals, 25g Greek yogurt 33 cals, 20g mango chutney 48 cals.  10g fresh coriander 2 cals.  Total 515 calories.

Screenshot 2019-03-10 at 17.21.27

What is a mooli radish?

I bought one some time ago and used it grated with a salad.  I didn’t think that much of it, so peeled and chopped the remainder and stuck it into the freezer.  In my quest to empty things from the freezer that appear to have been there… forever…. today was the turn of the mooli radish to be turned into something that looked rather delicious!



Vegetable Curry with Mooli Radish

Preparation Time:  20 mins

Cooking Time:  1 hr

Serves:  6

Calories per serving:  189.4


Onions  – 1 Onion/100g

Carrots  – 252g

Curry Paste, Jalfrezi, Patak’s – 100g

Tomatoes, Chopped, in Tomato Juice – 1 Can/400g

Garlic, Raw – 1½ Cloves/4.5g

Olive Oil  – 11ml

Mooli Radish – 227g

Parsnip – 70g

Savoy Cabbage  – 165g

Celery – 82g

Lentils, Puy, Ready to Eat, Merchant Gourmet – 1 Pack/250g

Preparation: Peel and finely dice the carrot and parsnip. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and finely dice the garlic. Peel the mooli and cut into bite sized chunks.


Pour the oil into a large lidded pan. Heat over a medium heat. Add the onion and celery and stir for around 6 – 7 minutes. Don’t allow to brown. Add the garlic, diced carrot, parsnip, cabbage, mooli, tinned tomatoes and Jalfrezi paste. Stir until everything is evenly mixed.

Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for an hour, stirring every if minutes until all the vegetables are softened.

Add the puy lentils, stir through and cook for a further 20 minutes until the puy lentils are warmed through.


Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) . 189.4

Sugars (g)  8.2

Fat (g)  7.5

Fibre (g) . 7.0

Fruit & Veg . 3.0

Protein (g)  7.4

Carbohydrate (g) 21.8

How to stay fit if you have a physical disability

WHAT!  But I’m DISABLED! If I find it almost impossible to walk more than a few steps, there’s not a lot of exercise I can do, surely?  

I’m often asked about the challenges of exercise and keeping fit with a physical disability.  After all, that’s the theme of my website, so share my journey with readers.  Things that I have found that have helped me to make those changes.

Because I am signed up to Patient Access (allowing patients signed up to their GP surgery electronically to access health services) I am regularly emailed interesting articles – this was one such.

How to stay fit if you have a physical disability

I found it an interesting and useful read and thought I’d share with others who have a physical disability or long-term illness.

I’ve already incorporated into my every day life many of the things listed in the article and taken on board some of the advice.

This sentence particularly struck a chord, and is something that has been instrumental to my success….

“Excess weight pushes you down the ability spectrum, so adjust your calorie intake so it’s in line with your activity levels. You shouldn’t eat the diet of an athlete if you don’t train like an athlete.”

Wine-gummy tomatoes(very slow roasted tomatoes!)

Getting the tomatoes prepared for a long, slow roast.

I was inspired to try this recipe thanks to Jamie Oliver’s version.  Three basic ingredients, plenty of ripe cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.  Roast long and low for 4 hours (yep, that’s right – 4 hours) et voila!  The flavour intensifies to a whole different level so that including just a few tomatoes in any recipe adds that tomatoey flavour.  We made up a large batch (1.5kg) and have frozen them to use again and again.




Cooking Time:  4 hours

Serves:  10 portions

Calories per serving:  66.4


Cherry Tomatoes – 1410g

Oil, Olive – 42ml

Sea Salt – 1 Tsp/5g

Freshly ground pepper – 1 Tsp/2g

Garlic, Raw – 6 Cloves/18g

Oregano or mixed herbs – 2 Tsps


Preheat the oven to 100ºC/210ºF/gas ¼.

Halve the tomatoes, peel and finely slice or dice the garlic, pop into a bowl, pour over the olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and the herbs.  Use your hands to gently mix everything until the tomatoes are uniformly coated.

Lay them cut-side up in two baking trays.

Pop in the oven for 4 hours, or until soft and sticky. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal) 66.4
Sugars (g) 4.4
Fat (g) 4.4
Fibre (g) 1.5
Fruit & Veg 1.9
Protein (g) 1.2
Carbohydrate (g) 4.8

How to enjoy?  For us, we mixed a few tomatoes with a tin of slightly warmed butterbeans sprinkled with a little dried basil.  Pan fried sea bass with a buttery sauce.  All for a surprising 323 calories….



Brunch – Stir-fried leek and cabbage in a toasted flatbread with shredded ham hock – 409 calories

Screenshot 2019-02-23 at 12.34.50Stir-fried leek and cabbage (warmed) in a toasted flatbread with shredded ham hock and some mayo.

2 x multi-seeded folded flatbreads = 214 cals

Stir-fried cabbage and leek (I make this in a large batch and make it last for a few meals) – half a portion = 37 cals

Ready-to-eat ham hock shredded (90g) = 144 cals

Healthy Living Mayonnaise, 1 tblsp = 14 cals

Total meal = 409 calories

Fennel, Chilli & Sausage Ragu – 215 calories (excluding spaghetti)

IMG_0711Delicious and very quick and easy to make! If you can’t get hold of a good quality sausage meat, remove the skin from some good quality sausages and this will work equally well.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 3

Calories per serving: 215


Olive Oil – 6ml

Pork, Sausage Meat – 180g

Tomatoes, Chopped, in Rich Tomato Juice – 1 Can/400g

Fennel, Bulb – 1 Medium Bulb/300g

Garlic, Raw – 2 Cloves/6g

Peppers, Chilli, Dried, Flakes – 1 Pinch/0.1g

Fennel Seeds – 1 Tsp/2g


Trim and slice the fennel bulb. Peel and finely dice the garlic.


Break up the sausage meat. Heat the oil in a saute pan over a medium heat and fry the sausage meat until golden, then set aside (leaving any oil produced in the pan).

Add the chopped fennel bulb (reserve the fronds) to the pan and fry for 10 minutes until softened and golden.

Add the garlic cloves, fennel seeds and 2 tbsp cold water. Turn down the heat slightly, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chilli flakes, tinned tomatoes, and the browned sausage meat with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti (or other pasta of choice) in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the pack instructions.

Drain loosely and toss in the pan with the ragu and reserved fennel fronds. Garnish with a handful of chopped fresh basil and parsley.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 215

Sugars (g) 7.2

Fat (g) 13.6

Fibre (g) 3.8

Fruit & Veg 3.1

Protein (g) 13.9

Carbohydrate (g) 8.6

Celebrations and eating out

This is something that has changed for me during my weight loss journey.  At some point during my weight loss journey (probably about 2/3 years in) I recognised that I just could not afford to eat out every week….

I used to plan every trip out of the house to include some food, ie, trip to town = lunch in a pub, trip to the garden centre = cake and coffee.  Now, my trips out of the house are planned around my food – so I make sure that I am back home for a lunch that I have already planned or made (soup, salad, etc) OR I will take a packed lunch with me if I know that I’m going to be out over my lunchtime.

So for example this week, I have a meeting that starts at 11.30am and goes on until 1pm.  As I don’t eat breakfast, it’s crucial that I eat my lunch between 12 noon and 1pm or I start to feel really hungry.  I will therefore make up a bowl of salad and take it with me in a cool bag with cutlery and a serviette plus a flask of water.  If people are going to arrange meetings over the lunchtime period, then they just have to put up with my munching a salad whilst we talk!  Usually other meeting attendees are very complimentary about my healthy bowl of food and I’ve never been told not to eat it (I always make sure I warn people that I’m going to eat my lunch at some point!)

We rarely eat out now – usually just special occasions.  In itself, that is quite nice as it makes it a bit more of a treat.  I recognise that isn’t a popular choice for many,  but as I am short, sedentary and don’t have a lot of weight to lose, I sadly have no choice.

With previous weight loss attempts, before my mind set had changed, I would often look at the menu – see what choice I “should” make (in terms of fewer calories), and then at the point that the menu choices were being taken I would still end up selecting the thing I “really” wanted )often quite calorific)!  I would feel I was missing out if everyone was having a dessert, so I’d inevitably cave in and have one too.

My mindset has changed, as well as my palette.  I’m not bothered by many of my previous “favourite” menu choices – for example, fish and chips, or a curry with rice and a naan – I simply cannot physically eat that amount of food and I don’t like to pay for food and waste it.  I’d rather have new potatoes to fries.

I LOVE vegetables and therefore I will look for restaurants that serve plenty of fresh vegetables with their dishes.

As portion sizes in many restaurants if often too much for me, I’ll sometimes select 2 x starters…. or I’ll choose a side salad and another side dish and have those with a starter as my main course.

I only have dessert if I see something on the menu I “really” want; again, many of the choices I’ll just find too sickly or stodgy.  I’d enjoy a pavlova or a creme brûlée – but won’t fancy cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding…  I’ll often just have a mouthful of the husband’s dessert (if he can be persuaded to part with it) and a nice coffee.

I purposefully select restaurants which serve higher quality (nicer) food in smaller quantities.

At the end of the day, it is all about my choiceWhat do I want more – that meal out, that dessert – or to lose weight?IMG_0307

It does help that I love cooking and I really enjoy the food that I prepare.  I am often disappointed by a meal cooked by a restaurant – finding it too salty, too greasy or too bland.

I know I make it all sound so simple… but believe me, these changes didn’t happen until well into my weight loss journey.  My new “normal” just became my normal “normal”!