Spaghetti with spring greens, bacon and hazelnuts – 510 calories

IMG_3302I love using vegetables that are in season – cheap and at their very best! Spring greens all the way for me – I’ve washed, shredded and blanched three portions. This was how I used the remainder.

This could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon. It was delicious!

Spaghetti, spring greens with hazelnuts and bacon

Preparation Time:20 mins

Cooking Time:20 mins

Serves:1

Calories per serving:  510.7

How to toast and skin hazelnuts:   Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly coloured and skins are blistered.

Wrap nuts in a clean tea towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins (don’t worry about skins that don’t come off) and cool completely.

To blanch the spring greens:   Remove ends and tough centre stems. Wash thoroughly in plenty of cold water.  Finely shred the leaves. Add to a saucepan of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes or until bright green. …

Transfer the vegetables to a bowl of iced water to refresh. This cools them quickly so they don’t continue to cook…. (I just place them in a colander and run under the cold water tap…)

Drain throughly. Don’t soak for more than 2-3 minutes or they may lose flavour.

and here is the recipe…..

Ingredients

Bacon, Lardons, Smoked – 25g

Cabbage, Spring Greens, blanched – 100g

Spaghetti, Whole Wheat, Dry Weight – 50g

Cheddar Cheese, Extra Mature, Average – 25g

Oil, Olive – 1 Tsp/5ml

Hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and roughly chopped – 15g

Method

Wash and finely shred the spring greens. Cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions and drain when cooked.

Bring a large pain of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and the greens to the boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. Drain thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the chopped bacon/ lardons and fry for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the fat has melted and the bacon is crisp and golden-brown.

Add the cooked spring greens to the pan and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted and coated in the fat. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped hazelnuts. Mix in the cooked spaghetti.

Sprinkle with the (grated) cheese and serve immediately.

Picture shows before the cheese was sprinkled on. If I were to change anything, I might suggest adding a spoonful of creme fraiche.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 510.7

Protein (g) 22.7

Carbohydrate (g) 33.8

Fat (g) 31.6

Fruit & Veg 1.3

Fibre (g) 8.2

Butternut squash, aubergine & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette – 199 calories

IMG_3103 (1)Love, LOVE this salad. Eating it cold for a packed lunch tomorrow with some cubed Feta cheese!

Butternut squash, aubergine & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 40 mins

Serves:6

Calories per serving: 199

Ingredients

Butternut Squash, raw – 550g

Olive Oil -13ml

Barley, Quick Cook – 100g

Tomatoes, Sun Dried (roughly chopped) – 65g

Pumpkin Seeds – 1 Tbsp/10g

Black pitted olives – 7 Olives/24.5g

Fresh Basil, chopped – 2 Tbsps/10g

Balsamic Vinegar – 2 Tbsps/30ml

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 15ml

Dijon Mustard – 1½ Tsps/7.5g

Garlic, Raw – 1 Clove/3g

Red Onions, Red – 148g

Capers, in Brine -1 Hpd Tsp/10g

Aubergine, Raw – 325g

Method

Preparation: Peel and de-seed butternut squash and cut into 2cm cubes. Trim the top and bottom of the aubergine and cut into 2cm cubes. Peel and dice the red onion. Dice the sun dried tomatoes. Roughly chop the basil.

For the dressing

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins. After 20 mins, add the aubergine and diced onion, stir thoroughly and continue to roast for a further 30 minutes, stirring gently half way through the cooking time.

Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente.

While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Add the black olives (halved), the drained capers and pumpkin seeds. Mix well and allow to cool.

This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.

Shown here served with 2 x chilli and lime skewers (113 cals) and 40g of broccoli (14 cals). Whole meal 326 calories.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 199

Protein (g) 4.4

Carbohydrate (g) 25.8

Fat (g) 8.5

Fruit & Veg 2.2

Fibre (g) 5.4

Butternut squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette – 248 calories per portion

img_3067.jpgMade this – super simple and very tasty. We’re having it with a pan fried sea bass fillet and tender stem broccoli later :-)

Preparation Time:30 mins

Cooking Time:40 mins

Serves: 4

Calories per serving:247.7

Ingredients

Butternut Squash, Raw, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes -500g

Oil, Olive -1 Tbsp/15ml

Barley -100g

Tomatoes, Sun Dried, chopped -50g

Pumpkin Seeds -1 Tbsp/10g

Black pitted olives, halved -7 Olives/24.5g

Basil, Fresh -2 Tbsps/10g

Balsamic Vinegar -2 Tbsps/30ml

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin -2 Tsps/10ml

Dijon Mustard -1½ Tsps/7.5g

Garlic, Raw -1 Clove/3g

Red Onions -50g

Capers, in Brine -1 Hpd Tsp/10g

Method

Preparation: Peel and de-seed butternut squash and cut into 2cm cubes. Peel and dice the red onion. Slice the sun dried tomatoes. Roughly chop the basil. Peel and finely dice garlic.

For the dressing

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins. After 20 mins, stir thoroughly and then add the chopped onion. Continue to roast for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente.

While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.

Add the remaining ingredients (olives, capers, chopped basil, seeds) to the barley and mix well.

This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 247.7

Protein (g) 5.0

Carbohydrate (g) 31.7

Fat (g) 10.8

Fruit & Veg 1.8

Fibre (g) 5.5

IMG_3066

Salmon fillet with a Parmesan and lemon crust – 278 calories

IMG_3052This was so easy and quick and very, very delicious. We’ll definitely be making it again!

Preparation Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 18 mins

Serves: 2

Calories per serving: 278


Ingredients

Salmon, Fillets, Raw, Skin-On (2 x 90g) – 190g

Butter, Salted – 8g

Cheese, Parmesan, finely grated – 15g

Lemon, Zest – 2 Tsps/4g

Breadcrumbs, Panko – 15g

Mustard, Dijon, Average- 6g

Dill, Dried, Average- ½ Tsp/0.5g

Oil, Olive, Average- 3ml

Preparation: Melt butter in microwave. Finely grate parmesan cheese. Zest half a lemon.

Method

1   Heat oven to 200 degrees. Use oil to brush bottom of a Pyrex baking dish. Pat salmon dry with paper towel. Place salmon, skin side down, in dish; spread with the Dijon mustard.

2   Mix panko bread crumbs, cheese, lemon zest and dill with the melted butter. Press bread crumb mixture evenly on salmon.

3   Bake uncovered 15 to 25 minutes (I cooked for 18 mins) or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Serve immediately.

I served mine with some stir-fried cabbage and leek and half a pouch of brown rice with roasted vegetables.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 278

Protein (g) 21.8

Carbohydrate (g) 6.6

Fat (g)18.4

Fruit & Veg 0.0

Fibre (g) 0.2

Easy Spanish Chicken – 424 calories

IMG_3045This was lovely – very filling and a nice bit of heat from the chilli and the chorizo. It suggested serving with green beans and rice – but it most certainly didn’t need the rice!

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Serves: 2

Calories per serving: 424

Ingredients

Oil, Olive – 7ml

Onions, peeled and sliced -100g

Peppers, Yellow, Raw (1 medium) cut into bite-sized chunks – 155g

Courgette, Raw – cut in half lengthwise and then sliced – 200g

Chorizo, sliced – 70g

Tomatoes, Chopped, in Tomato, Canned – ½ Can/200g

Butter Beans, Canned – ½ Can/125g

Tomato Puree, Double Concentrate – 1 Tbsp/15g

Oregano, Dried,- ½ Tsp/0.5g

Dried Chilli Flakes – ½ Tsp/1.5g

Stock Cubes, Chicken, half a cube

Parsley, Fresh – 1 Tbsp/3.8g

Salt – 1 Pinch/0.1g

Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 1 Pinch/0.2g

Chicken Breast Fillets 2 x 100g, cut into slices – 200g

Method

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan or saute pan. Add the chicken and season with the pepper. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring regularly.

Transfer the chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon or spatula and add the onion, pepper, courgette and chorizo to the pan. Fry over a medium high heat for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the wine, tomatoes, butterbeans, tomato puree, oregano, chilli flakes and chicken stock cube to the pan. Refill the tomato tin with cold water, pour into the tomato mixture and stir. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to the boil, return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately. Goes nicely with green beans,

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 424.6

Protein (g) 42.4

Carbohydrate (g) 26.4

Fat (g) 16.9

Fruit & Veg 5.1

Fibre (g) 8.1

Smashing it!

P1030780I’ve been on my weight loss journey for seven and a half years now.

So many little things which have now become “normal” for me – not just in terms of eating behaviour, but also in my abilities to move – were once things I couldn’t even dream of when I first started on my journey.

I’ve always been disabled.  And for most of my life (from the age of 9) I’ve been overweight.

From my own personal perspective, it was easy to use my disability as an excuse as to why I was overweight and why I was unable to move MORE.

With hindsight, it was my WEIGHT that significantly prevented me from moving more.  I could barely stand for a few minutes, let alone walk any distance.  I would need someone to help fill the car with fuel as the whole process of standing whilst operating the pump was just too exhausting.

Whatever our abilities, we can all move just a little more, even if it’s just going for a trundle in the open air in a motorised wheelchair. In fact, the benefits of doing just that can be immense.

I have just returned from an amazing trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar. This is my third “adventure” holiday to far flung destinations and remote locations in as many years.  The trips have involved long haul flights, climbing into single engine 12-seater planes and being hoisted into and out of jeeps whilst on safari.  More are planned.

One of the day trips planned on this holiday was a boat trip in a traditional dhow (wooden boat). The thing I’ve always enjoyed about boat trips is that you jump on, travel about, see things and jump off.  Not too much walking involved.

Not this time!

On arrival at the beach, the tide was right out and I could see, much to my dismay, that the boats were waiting about half a mile out in the shallow water. I immediately started to worry that I’d not be able to get out there – walking across sand and then rocks and rock pools ankle deep in water.

BUT my choices were limited.

I either attempted that walk, or neither of us would be able to do the trip (already arranged and paid for). The drive to the beach had already taken 40 minutes. We really wanted a day away from the hustle and bustle of Stone Town.

As we waited and were all kitted out with our flippers and masks/snorkels, I was experiencing an inner fear that was rising deep within me.

Eventually, we were allocated a crew member, who’s task it was to walk small groups out to the waiting boats.

Our group was allocated “Big Show”, a huge gentleman built like a water buffalo!

Screenshot 2019-09-29 at 21.13.01
Mwinchum aka “Big Show”

“Big Show” took hold of my wrist firmly in one HUGE hand, his fingers holding me tightly. “I will help you Mama” he said and started to walk me towards the boat at a steady pace, taking account of my short legs and reduced stride length.

I couldn’t look forward as my eyes needed to concentrate on the uneven ground beneath my feet, avoiding rock pools and particularly slimy patches. All the time he kept reassuring me with the words “polepole, polepole” (Swahili for “slowly, slowly”). Before long, we had reached the group of boats and I was heaved aboard – not in the most ladylike fashion, but by now I was exhausted and keen to get aboard and have a seat!

Likewise, when we stopped for our lunch, the boat had little option but to anchor in the shallows with a half mile walk to the beach and restaurant we were lunching in.

But this time, I was less fearful. By now it was the middle of the day, the sun was blazing down on us (30 degree heat).  I slid into the water and up to my waist and Big Shot took my wrist.

This time, he walked me about 50 steps and then said “Stop. Rest.” I think he was aware of my laboured breathing (or should I say puffing!) The final part of this marathon was a climb up a steep sandy beach (see picture – this shows the tide right in). Once again, I arrived at my final destination, hot, exhausted, hungry and thirsty.

I took my seat int he shade and exclaimed “I think that deserves a Kili!” (local popular beer, Kilimanjaro). No sooner were the words uttered, then one arrived on the table in front of me, uncapped – delivered by a fellow passenger.

None of my fellow passengers knew anything about my walking abilities. We were all strangers meeting for the first time – French, American, Japanese, etc. But I have no doubt from comments during the trip that they admired what I achieved that day.

I have to say though, nobody was more impressed with my performance than I was myself!

Once again, I managed to truly achieve over and above what I thought I was physically able to.

And it was well worth it.

P1030785

Cod fillet with a lemon and parsley crust – 155 calories

IMG_2364Preparation Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 2

Calories per serving: 155

Ingredients

Cod, Fillets, Skinless & Boneless -2 Fillets/250g

Olive Oil -5ml

Wholemeal Bread, Medium Sliced (400g loaf) -1 Slice/29g

Lemon zest -1 Tbsp/6g

Parsley, Dried-½ Tsp/0.5g

Garlic Pepper seasoning – pinch

Method

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Slightly toast the bread (do not allow to burn) and leave to cool/dry out.

Once cold, tear into pieces and put in a food processor with the parsley and lemon zest. Blitz to make rough crumbs. Add the garlic pepper and olive oil and stir to combine.

Place the cod in one layer into a shallow roasting dish. Press on the crumbs in an even layer to cover.

Bake for 18-20 mins.

Served with home grown potatoes (60g – 45 cals) with a tiny amount of butter (22 cals), stir fried cabbage and leek (56 cals) and mashed carrot and swede (46 cals)… so whole meal was 324 calories.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 155

Protein (g) 25.2

Carbohydrate (g) 6.3

Fat (g) 3.1

Fruit & Veg 0.0

Fibre (g) 1.4

IMG_2365