This was a super-quick and filling meal, made using store cupboard ingredients. I’m not a huge fan of basil pesto, but this rose harissa pesto was absolutely delicious and added a nice spicy kick to the dish.
Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp/15ml
Garlic, Raw – 2 Cloves/6g
Cherry Tomatoes – 150g
Chestnut Mushrooms – 125g
Lemon zest from one lemon – 4g
Courgette, (julienned, discard the seeded core) – 1 very large/224g
Dried Chilli Pepper Flakes – ½ Tsp/1.5g
Baby Leaf Spinach – 1 Serving/90g
Spaghetti, Whole Wheat, Dry Weight – 140g
Cooked Jumbo King Prawns – 150g
Harissa Paste, Rose, Belazu – 20g
Preparation: Zest the lemon. Peel the garlic and finely chop. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Wipe the mushrooms and cut into chunks. Julienne the courgette to make “courgetti” strands.
Cook the pasta following pack instructions, then drain, reserving a ladleful of cooking water.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the courgette strands, mushrooms and tomatoes to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 mins, or until beginning to soften and turn juicy. Add the garlic clove and stir for a further 2/3 minutes
Stir through the prawns to heat through for about 2 mins. Add the harissa, lemon zest and spinach stirring to coat and allowing the spinach to wilt.
Add the cooked spaghetti and pasta water to the prawns, spinach and courgette mixture. Stir thoroughly to combine, season to taste and serve.
Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal) 437.8
Protein (g) 24.5
Carbohydrate (g) 53.0
Fat (g) 13.8
Fibre (g) 11.3
Fruit & Veg 4.0
It has been far too long since I last posted here to my Blog. No excuses really!
Life goes on…. my weight loss journey continues. My exercise regime is unchanged.
Interestingly, I managed to lose about a stone during 2020, but then managed to gain about 10lb during 2021! A few sneaky extra treats sneaked in here and there can completely sabotage ones weekly weight loss progress.
Whilst many people struggled with the tedium of lockdowns, I seized the opportunity to exercise every day (for up to two hours) which gave me plenty of wiggle room and a few additional calories to enjoy.
Thankfully, my health has remained excellent and (hoping not to tempt fate here) I have avoided contracting Covid – although many of those around me have not been as fortunate.
Not having holidays and social events also helped – however careful and mindful I am, a few days away from home can wreak havoc with my weight.
Slowly life is returning to “normal” and my diary is beginning to look a little more exciting.
I’m determined to post a little more frequently and share some of the meals that I cook which help to keep me on track.
Living in the moment – a critical part of emotional well being. Especially important at the present time as we slowly inch out of the Covid-19 pandemic to spend time each day and each week to find those little things that bring happiness and comfort.
Yesterday was a day for enjoying the sunshine. It started with my second AstraZeneca vaccine injection. Thankfully, apart from a small amount of localised pain in the injection site, it was absolutely fine. I had the vaccine at my doctors surgery which is about 8 doors away from my home. Grateful that I could travel there in my wheelchair, as parking always looks a bit of a nightmare!
A day laying in the sunshine with my Kindle and reading “Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A Story” by Richard Bach. The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself and learns everything he can about flying. His increasing unwillingness to conform finally results in his expulsion from the flock. Now an outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities while leading a peaceful and happy life.
Just the sort of story to remind you to do the things that are important to you and bring happiness.
Stopping and remaining still to read a book is something I rarely do – in fact, it’s usually only an activity I enjoy when I am on holiday. But if reading a book means I sit still for more than 30 minutes (and NOT in front of a computer screen…) then that can only be a good thing.
My day continued with a quick and easy meal – chicken cooked in a leek, mushroom and creamy mustard sauce (with an added dash of sherry). A ready-cooked pouch of rice, quickly warmed and a side of steamed tender stem broccoli. Rosé wine a fine accompaniment!
As the sun began to set, my day ended enjoying the warmth, smell and sight of the fire pit…
Chicken in a creamy mustard sauce – 312 calories
These quantities provide two very generous portion sizes.
Preparation/cooking time, about 20 – 30 minutes.
100ml Creme Fraiche, Half Fat
1 Tsp/5g Mustard, Dijon
1 Tsp/5g Mustard, Wholegrain
6ml Oil, Olive
2 Cloves/6g Garlic, Raw
1 Shot/50ml Sherry, Dry
1 Tsp /2g Tarragon, Dried (or half a tablespoon of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped)
100g Mushrooms, Chestnut
230g Chicken, Cooked, Sliced
Preparation: Peel and finely dice the garlic. Finely slice the leek into strips and wash thoroughly removing all dirt and grit. Wipe the mushrooms and cut into quarters.
Method: Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan. Fry the leeks over a medium heat until softened and cooked – do not allow to brown. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken, continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the sherry and stir until alcohol has evaporated.
Add the creme fraiche, tarragon and mustards to the pan, stirring to combine everything. Bring to a simmer until the chicken is heated through and sauce bubbling.
Great with green beans, broccoli, any other vegetables and rice.
Sometimes I just go with whatever is in the fridge that needs using up and today it was butternut squash and bacon.
I went with instinct and have to say the end result was rather delicious!
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hr
Calories per serving: 313
Olive Oil – 20ml
Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes – 500g
Red Onions, half, cut into slices – 90g
Bacon, Streaky, Smoked cut into bite sized pieces – 87g
Sumac, Ground – ½ Tsp/1g
Ras El Hanout seasoning – ½ Tsp/1g
Garlic – 2 Cloves/6g
Thyme, Dried – ½ Tsp/0.5g
Peel and chop the butternut into 3cm cubes. Place the olive oil in a large roasting tin and place into a preheated oven (200 degrees). Peel and chop the onion into slices. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces. Peel and finely dice the garlic.
Once the oil is heated, place the butternut squash into the roasting dish, stir to thoroughly coat in the oil and sprinkle with the sumac and ras el hanout seasoning. Cook for 20 mins.
Add the red onion, stir thoroughly and continue to cook for a further 14 minutes.
Add the garlic and bacon pieces and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the thyme.
Cook for a final 15 minutes.
Serve with rice, a dollop of creme fraiche and any other vegetable of your choice. I like mine with tender stem broccoli!
Why haven’t I made a crustless quiche before now? Only one pan and a bowl, easy and quick to make, no making and rolling of pastry and full of yummy flavours. It’s a complete meal (but I’ll be having mine with some veggies on the side…)
Three cheese, spinach and mushroom quiche.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Calories per serving: 390
Onions, Raw – 120g
Babyleaf spinach – 100g
Coconut Oil, Biona Organic – 10g
Cheese, Cheddar, Medium – 90g
Cheese, Cave Aged Goats – 85g
Cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano – 25g
Double Cream, – 40ml
Chestnut Mushrooms – 25g
Medium Free Range Eggs – 6
Peel and dice onion, wipe and slice mushrooms. Grate or chop cheeses into small cubes. Cook the spinach leaves (without water) for 2 minutes covered in the microwave on full power.
In a large frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat, fry onion and mushrooms in oil until tender.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the cream and whisk gently with a hand whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper if required.
Add the spinach and grated cheese to the egg mixture and combine.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9-in. quiche dish. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.
Studying the list of ingredients on shop-bought salad dressings can be quite revealing and even shocking – especially when it comes to the sugar content and all of those preservatives. So many contain a lot of water too…
So have embarked on finding some healthy dressing recipes. Here’s the first.
Avocado, Flesh Only, Average – 170g
Juice, Lime, Fresh, Average – 40ml
Oil, Olive, Average – 30ml
Water, Mineral Or Tap – 30ml
Garlic, Raw, Average – 1 Clove / 3g
Coriander, Leaves, Fresh, Average – 15g
Cumin, Ground, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g
Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g
Salt, Rock, Average – 0.25 Tsp / 1g
Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender. I used a stick blender with a deep and narrow blending container.
Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about the water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.
Keep in an airtight container or jar for 1-2 weeks.
It’s been difficult to work out the nutrition for this, but it’s about 244 calories per 100g / 37 calories per 15g tablespoon. But given that this dressing is so thick and creamy and full of “good” fats, it’s likely to satiate. And from a health point of view, very nutritional…
Please do get in touch if there are any dressing recipes you’ve come across that are Keto friendly!
Chicory can be quite a bitter tasting vegetable, but this recipe perfectly balanced that bitterness by adding the cream and just a little sugar.
Roasted Chicory Gratin – 123 calories
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Calories per serving: 123
Chicory, Fresh, Raw – 2 Heads/300g
Butter, Salted – 1 Thin Spread/7g
Golden Caster Sugar – 1 Tsp/5g
Cider Vinegar – 1 Tbsp/15ml
Breadcrumbs, Natural, Paxo – 20g
Cheese, Parmesan (finely grated) – 2 Tbsps/20g
Creme Fraiche – 40g
Sour Cream – 40g
Fry the chicory cut-side down in a large (lidded) pan with a little butter until they start to brown.
Sprinkle in the sugar, shake the pan and keep cooking as the sugar and butter start to caramelize the chicory.
Add the cider vinegar and turn the chicory over. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes then add a splash of water, put a lid on and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until the chicory is tender.
Spoon into a gratin dish or leave in the pan. Mix together the soured cream and creme fraiche. Drizzle over the chicory, mix breadcrumbs and finely grated Parmesan and sprinkle over chicory. Lightly brown under a hot grill until the top is bubbling and golden. Rest for 5 minutes.
It’s been a while since I shared a recipe on my Blog, but I have been cooking and eating my way through the Covid-19 epidemic and lockdown.
My weight is 8lb less than it was at the start of the lockdown (end of March 2020), so I am really pleased with this achievement. I’ve managed it by remaining on track and upping my exercise sessions. I’ve been pretty strict with myself, ensuring that I have done my exercise every morning (apart from two days following a fall). My day starts with a 1.5 – 2 hour stretch and bounce session.
One of the things I know I’ve not eaten since I started this way of eating over 8 years ago has been chicken Kiev, but this is something I love! Most shop bought Kiev’s are far too calorific for me to contemplate them. So today I had a little trial of making my own healthier version, combining different elements and ideas from various on-line recipes.
The result was very pleasing! I hope that if you try this recipe, yours works as well as mine did. Please ensure you use FULL FAT soft cheese and none of this low fat nonsense!
Home made chicken Kiev- 398 calories
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Calories per serving: 398.5
Chicken, Breast Fillet Skinless & Boneless, Raw – 130g
Soft Cheese, Full Fat – 30g
Breadcrumbs, Natural (Paxo) – 15g
Garlic, Raw (Peeled and finely diced) – 1 Clove/3g
Mayonnaise – 10g
Olive Oil – 3ml
Parsley, Fresh – ¼ Tbsp/0.95g
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Finely chop the garlic and add with the dried herbs to the soft cheese, mix well and leave to infuse for up to an hour if you have time.
Cut a pocket into the chicken and stuff the cheese mixture into the pocket. You may wish to use a skewer to close the pocket and keep the filling in place, but this isn’t essential.
Grease a shallow oven-proof dish using the olive oil. Place the chicken in the dish and bake for 15 minutes.
Keep the oven temperature the same, but change the setting to circo-roast (oven + grill) if you have the option to. Otherwise your crumb may not be as crisp / browned. You may wish to flash it under a hot grill to achieve this.
Mix the mayonnaise with the breadcrumbs to a paste. Smear over the top of the chicken breast (it doesn’t matter if some falls off) and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Celeriac makes such a lovely change from pasta, rice and potatoes and has many nutritional qualities (now here’s the technical part…)
Celeriac is very low in calories. 100g root holds just 42 calories.
Contains many health benefiting plant-nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibre.
Similar to carrot and other members of Apiaceae family vegetables, celeriac too contains many poly-acetylene anti-oxidants.
Several research studies from scientists at the University of Newcastle at Tyne found that these compounds possess anti-cancer properties and, thereby, may offer protection from colon cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia amongst other diseases.
Celeriac is a splendid source of vitamin-K. 100g root provides about 41 µg or 34% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-K improves bone mineralization by promoting osteoblastic activity in the bones. Research studies suggest that it also has an established role for patients affected by Alzheimer’s by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
The root is an excellent source of some of the essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper, and manganese. Phosphorus is required for cell metabolism, maintaining blood buffer system, bone, and teeth formation. Copper helps restore immunity, prevents anaemia, and is essential for bone metabolism.
It contains some of the valuable B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Fresh root also provides moderate amounts of vitamin C (8mg/100g).
What’s more, it has a really awesome flavour! Of course, not to everyones taste, but I love it. This lovely, healthy and low calorie meal contains just 315 calories!
250g of celeriac dusted with paprika and roasted with 5g of avocado oil (92 calories). Pan fried sea bass fillet with another 5g of avocado oil (150 calories) and home-made ratatouille (75 calories).
Oh, and 5 calories for the paprika! = 322 calories for the meal.