Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad – 270 calories

As the weeks move towards spring, sunshine and warmer weather, I fancied putting together a zesty, refreshing accompaniment for my lunchtime meal.

Lunches most days are salad or soup.  These never become mundane or boring as I am always looking for ideas and inspiration to add colour, flavour and texture.

I’ve previously combined orange and fennel, but this recipe works really well.  I combined ingredients from a couple of recipes I found to come up with my own recipe.

The pecans add some protein.  I served it alongside a tempura coated oven baked chicken fillet and a fairly plain green salad (lettuce, cucumber, celery, watercress).

It was a little fiddly to prepare, but good food is always worth the additional time and effort!


Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad – 270 calories

Preparation Time:          20 mins

Cooking Time:               N/A

Serves:                         2

Calories per serving:      270


Fennel, Bulb                                        1 Medium Bulb/300g

Blood Oranges                                     1 Orange/140g

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin                           1 Tbsp/15ml

Orange Juice, Freshly Squeezed          20ml

Sumac, Ground                                    ¼ Tsp/0.5g

Pecan Nuts                                          40g

Mustard, Wholegrain                            1 Tsp/5g


Cut the core from the fennel and shred finely with a julienne cutter.

Carefully cut the peel and pith from the orange. Do this by cutting a slice off the top and bottom of the orange to provide a flat surface, then slice carefully downwards with a sharp knife removing the skin and pith. Try to remove as much pith as possible as this is quite bitter.

Cut the orange into segments and then each segment into three. Combine the orange pieces with the fennel shavings. Sprinkle over the sumac. Add the salt and pepper.

Combine the olive oil, mustard and the juice of half an orange. This is the dressing. Pour the dressing over the fennel and orange and stir gently to combine.

Roughly chop the pecans and sprinkle over the salad.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)                  270

Protein (g)                         4.2

Carbohydrate (g)             14.3

Fat (g)                            21.7

Fibre (g)                            6.4

Fruit & Veg                        2.8


Blackberry & Apple Flapjack Crumble – 376 calories

Choosing to eat healthily doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to cut out all sweet treats.  When it’s cold and dreary outside, there’s nothing better than a hot home made dessert and crumbles have to be up there in the top 5!

This one comes with a difference – the topping is based on a flapjack mixture using oats and golden syrup.  The end result is a lovely chewy topping.

High in calories, but I only need half a portion to hit the spot.

This uses tinned apples as they were in my cupboard, but fresh apples would work just as well.


Apple & Blackberry Flapjack Topped Crumble – 376 calories

Preparation Time:       10

Cooking Time:            25 mins

Serves:                         4

Calories per serving:   376


Breakfast Cereal, Porridge Oats                                –   70g

Flour, Plain                                                                   –   50g

Butter, Salted                                                              –   55g

Syrup, Golden                                                             –   1½ Tbsps/30g

Cinnamon, Ground                                                     –   ½ Tsp/1.5g

Apples, Granny Smith, Canned, Slices                    –   1 Can/392g

Blackberries, Fresh, Raw                                           –   200g

Sugar, Brown, Soft, Light                                          –   100g



Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Place the tinned apple slices and blackberries on the base of a shallow oven proof dish and sprinkle over 30g of the light brown sugar (the remainder goes into the topping).

Mix the oats, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the butter in small chunks and rub in gently. Stir in the remaining 30g of sugar and rub in again.  If easier, you can melt the butter in the microwave and stir through the dry mixture.

Drizzle over the syrup, mixing with a knife so it forms small clumps.

Sprinkle evenly over the apples and bake for 25-30 mins until the juices from the apples start to bubble up.

Cool for 10 mins (this stage is essential to achieve a lovely chewy texture), then serve with custard, cream or ice cream.  Or as I have done, with creme fraiche.


Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)          376

Protein (g)                4.9

Carbohydrate (g)     59.0

Fat (g)                      12.5

Fibre (g)                   5.9

Fruit & Veg               2.0

Crispy Chilli Beef – 351 calories

This is a simple and delicious recipe using mostly store cupboard items.  Be warned that there is a lot of spitting oil in the frying stage, so protective apron, gloves and goggles might be wise at this stage of the cooking!

This only takes a few minutes to make, as long as you gather the various ingredients together in advance.

Definitely a meal we’ll be enjoying again!

If you’ve got any questions or spot any errors or omissions in my recipes, please do let me know!  If you try it, I’d love your feedback.


Crispy Chilli Beef, 351 calories

Preparation Time:       15

Cooking Time:            10 mins

Serves:                         3

Calories per serving:   351


Beef Steak                                                             –  250g

Eggs, Medium                                                       –  1 Egg/54g

Cornflour                                                               –  2 Tbsps/30g

Salt                                                                        –  ¼ Tsp/1.25g

Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground                           –  ¼ Tsp/0.5g

Oil, Olive                                                               –  2½ Tbsps/37.5ml

Red Chilli Peppers                                               –  ¾ Med/33.75g

Spices, Ginger, & Garlic, Cubes, Cofresh         –  1 Serving/20g

Vinegar, Rice Wine                                              –  1 Tbsp/15ml

Tomato Puree                                                      –  1½ Tbsps/22.5g

Sugar, Caster                                                      –  1 Tbsp/12g

Ketchup, Tomato                                                 –  2 Tbsps/30g

Sweet Chilli Sauce                                              –  20g

Peppers, Red, Raw                                             –  1 Med/160g

Onions, Spring, Raw                                           –  6 Med/90g

Sauce, Soy, Dark                                                –  2 Tbsps/30g


De-seed and cut the pepper into long strips. Cut the spring onion into bite sized pieces at an angle.
Finely chop the chilli pepper.

Place the steak strips in a bowl and add the egg. Mix together to thoroughly coat the steak in the egg.
Add the 2tbsp cornflour, quarter tsp each of salt and pepper.

Toss together to coat the steak. It will be a sticky mixture.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat until very hot.

You will probably need to work in two batches, so when the oil is hot, add in half the beef – a strip at a time – and spread it out.

Fry the steak until dark brown and crispy. Try not to move the meat around too much as this reduces the amount of crispiness you get. It generally takes about 5 or 6 minutes to crisp up the beef, with about 3 or 4 stirs during that time.

Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the beef from the pan and place in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to soak up excess fat.

Add a further tablespoon of oil and repeat – cooking the second batch of beef and then placing in the bowl with the first batch.

Once you’ve removed all the beef from the pan, add the remaining half tbsp of oil to the pan and turn the heat down to medium.

Add in the red pepper and cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened.

Add in the spring onions, finely chopped chilli, minced ginger garlic and cook whilst stirring for 30 seconds.

Add the 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp tomato puree, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup and the sweet chilli sauce to the pan.

Turn up the heat and let it bubble for a couple of minutes until the sauce starts to reduce a little.

Add the beef back in, give it a stir and heat through for 1-2 minutes until the beef is hot.

Serve with rice or noodles.



Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)          351

Protein (g)                23.8

Carbohydrate (g)     27.8

Fat (g)                       16.3

Fibre (g)                      1.7

Fruit & Veg                 1.2

Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories

I was inspired to make this when I received a link to a vegan version of the recipe via a website I subscribe to – www.mob.co.uk

I love that so many of the recipes are low cost and use store cupboard ingredients – however, their quantities are usually HUGE and they’re not particularly focussed on healthy foods or weight loss.  They do have a section on Healthy Recipes and also many excellent “fakeaway” recipes which I often drool over!

I’m trying to introduce more vegetarian and vegan foods into my meal planning and to generally cut down on meat consumption. Something we should all be making an effort to do.

This recipe is a take on macaroni cheese but the creamy sauce is made by roasting and pureeing cauliflower and almonds with milk – the result is rather delicious!  However, I was unable to resist the temptation of adding some cheese – as cauliflower cheese is one of my all time favourite meals.

So this is my version of the Mob recipe:

Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories


Cauliflower                                                 –  260g

Carrots, peeled                                         –  100g

Cashew Nuts, Plain, Average                  –  50g

Milk, Whole                                               –  300ml

Garlic                                                         –  1 whole bulb

Breadcrumbs, Panko                               –  50g

Thyme, Dried                                            –  1 Tsp/1g

Rosemary, Dried                                       –  1 Tsp/1g

Parsley, Fresh, chopped                          –  1 Tbsp/3.8g

Macaroni                                                    –  225g

Olive Oil                                                     –  4 Tsps/20ml

Cheese, Cheddar, Mature                       –  50g

Salt, Average                                            –  ¼ Tsp/1g

Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground                    –  ½ Tsp/1g


Preparation:  Grate the cheese.


Step 1.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Step 2.
Chunk up the cauliflower and dice the carrots. Toss with salt and a dash of oil and spread out onto a tray.

Step 3.
Roast the cauliflower and carrots at 220°C until tender, this will take roughly 25 mins. Roast the garlic in foil with salt and 1 tsp of olive oil for 25 mins until tender (this can be done alongside the vegetable roasting).

Step 4.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C.

Step 5.
Briefly toast the cashews in the oven in an oven proof dish or on a piece of foil. Once toasted, transfer to a blender jug and pour over 500ml of warmed milk. Add the roasted cauliflower and carrots and one of the cloves of garlic (popped out of its skin) blend until super smooth.

Step 6.
Season the creamy sauce with salt and pepper and set aside. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and save some of the oil.

Step 7.
Toast the breadcrumbs in some of the garlicky oil. Finely chop the thyme, rosemary and parsley and toss through the breadcrumbs.  Pop the rest of the garlic cloves out of their skins, roughly chop and stir into breadcrumb mixture.

Step 8.
Cook the pasta for a couple of minutes less than the pack instructs. Stir through the sauce with a splash of pasta water (if required). You want it a bit wetter than you think. Add the grated cheese and gently stir through. Pour into an oven proof dish and top with the herby breadcrumbs.

Step 9.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Serve with a fresh, zingy green salad or green vegetables.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)       384.6

Protein (g)                14.8

Carbohydrate (g)    36.7

Fat (g)                       19.8

Fibre (g)                     3.2

Fruit & Veg                 1.3