Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Mackerel salade NiçoiseAnother very easy dish (a way of using up the other half of the can of mackerel I had for lunch earlier in the week).

Recipe for Mackerel salade Niçoise (serves 1)

20g lettuce leaves
50g mackerel fillets
1 hard-boiled egg
3 olives

Total calories per serving: 210

There isn’t really a ‘Method’ for this!


This is a variation on the red lentil curry I made before. But with added pumpkin. Obviously.

I grew pie pumpkins this year and still have some to use up, so with this recipe I roasted the pumpkin whole in the oven for an hour, then (once it had cooled down) cut it up and peeled the flesh away from the skin and seeds. You could also use canned pumpkin purée (as long as it’s unsweetened). The tomatoes were also home-grown: in the glut of summer I blend tomatoes and then boil them down into sauce and freeze them in (approximately) 400 gram batches in freezer bags for the winter. But canned tomatoes would be fine, too.

Recipe for Pumpkin and red lentil curry (serves 2)

1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp oil
100g onions, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp chilli powder (or a chopped red chilli – I used a dried one)
375g tomatoes (canned or fresh), blended
90g red lentils
460g cooked pumpkin
salt and pepper
2 tbsp lime juice
½ cup brown rice

Total calories per serving: 500

Method: Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan until fragrant, then grind them to a powder with a mortar and pestle. Warm the oil and fry the onion until soft. Stir in the spices and cook for a minute or two before adding the tomatoes and lentils. Cook for about half an hour, or until the lentils are soft. You may need to add some water if the curry gets too dry. Cook the rice for 20 minutes. Stir the pumpkin into the curry towards the end of the cooking time with the salt and pepper. When you are ready to serve the meal, stir the lime juice into the curry. If you have a spare lime, quarter it and serve it on the side.

Alongside this curry, I made a pizza for the kids. The eldest ate hers and then I had to go out and collect the youngest from a friend’s house. In the meantime, my husband came home and ate the youngest child’s pizza. Yes, HE ATE THE PIZZA. And not the healthy, filling, curry. I couldn’t believe it. In what universe is pizza going to be a dish suitable for a fasting day (I thought)?

Luckily, our son enjoys curry and was quite happy to eat his dad’s supper. When I’d got over my irritation, I put the ingredients for the pizza into the calorie counter and, actually, it wasn’t too bad, coming out at under 500 calories:

100g bread
100g tomato
25g chorizo
50g cheddar


Mackerel and spinach kedgeree

Recipe for mackerel and spinach kedgeree (serves 1)

¼ cup brown rice
50g fresh or frozen spinach
½ tsp curry powder
salt and pepper
50g mackerel fillets (I used canned, cooked ones)
1 egg

Total calories: 380

Method: Cook the rice by simmering in half a cup of water for 20 minutes. Hard boil the egg by simmering for 10 minutes and then plunging into cold water. Peel and quarter the egg. Stir the spinach into the rice in the last few minutes of cooking time (a bit earlier if you’re using frozen spinach) and add the curry powder, salt and pepper at the same time. When the spinach is done, remove from the heat and stir in the flaked mackerel fillets. Serve with the egg quarters – either warm as a supper dish or cold as a salad for lunch.

One thing I like about fasting is its flexibility, once you get the hang of it. I’ve been experimenting a bit of late: skipping breakfast fairly often, having a light lunch and a regular meal for supper, for example. Today I had a largish Sunday lunch and I will be in a meeting tomorrow with lunch provided, so I plan on doing a 24-hour fast from now through to then, skipping supper (well, apart from that hard-boiled egg I just ate 😕 ) and breakfast.

Goat's cheese and herb omelette
Recipe for Goat’s cheese and herb omelette (serves 1)

2 eggs
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp oregano, chopped
25g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

Total calories per serving: 225

Method: Beat eggs together and stir in the herbs and pepper. Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and pour in the eggs. Scatter the crumbled cheese over the top of the omelette and cook until the surface of the omelette is set. Fold it in half and slide onto a plate.

Recipe for Cashew, feta, olive and tomato salad (serves 1)

Ingredients for cashew, olive, feta and tomato salad15g olives, chopped
50g cous cous
50g feta, diced
115g cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup cashew nuts, lightly chopped

Total calories per serving: 450

Method: Pour boiling water over the cous cous and leave until the liquid has been absorbed. When it has cooled, stir in the other ingredients.

Simple, yet tasty and filling!

This is another recipe that can be made a day or two ahead of a fasting day. The chips keep well in an airtight container, too.

Butternut chilli and chips

Recipe for Butternut chill with tortilla chips (serves 2)

½ cup/100g dry kidney beans (cooked weight: 235g)
½ tsp oil
100g onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot pepper, diced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
250g tomatoes (fresh or tinned), blended to a sauce
200g butternut squash (cooked weight)
salt & pepper
fresh cilantro/coriander

2 (60 g) flour tortilla wraps
1 tsp oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds

Total calories per serving: 500

Method: Soak kidney beans overnight. Drain them the next day, cover with fresh water and boil for ten minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour, until the beans are tender. Roast or microwave the squash until it is tender, then dice it. When the beans have almost finished cooking, heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the diced onion until soft. stir in the chilli powder and paprika, then add the squash and tomato. Heat until warmed through and add the drained kidney beans, salt and pepper. Keep on a low heat while you make the tortilla chips.

Tortilla chips before bakingTo make the chips, heat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Put the tortilla wraps onto a baking sheet and brush with oil. Sprinkle the sesame and poppy seeds and seasoning over the top. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the wraps into eight segments each and spread them out over the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve the chilli in a bowl with the chips on the side and a garnish of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves.

P.S. Just in case you’re wondering what happened to Day 27: it turned out to be more of a half-fast for me, as my one meal was lunch at my neighbours’ and I didn’t cook a meal myself that day.

This isn’t a fasting day for me, but having counted the calories in this I thought it was worth putting it up as a light meal suitable for fasting days if you’re in the habit of splitting your calorie allowance over two meals. It’s got all the flavours of classic eggs Florentine and hollandaise sauce, but is a lot lighter in calories!

Eggs Florentine with feta

Recipe for Low-calorie eggs Florentine with feta (serves 1)

40g spinach, stalks trimmed off and shredded
30g feta cheese, diced (optional)
2 eggs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
ground black pepper

Total calories per serving: 250 (175 without the feta)

Method: Bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer and break in the two eggs. Melt the butter in another pan and gently cook the spinach. When the eggs have been simmering for two minutes, turn off the heat under their pan and stir the pepper and lemon juice into the spinach. Pile the spinach on a small plate, scatter the feta over it (if using) and top with the two poached eggs.

Simple and delicious!

There’s a fair amount of chopping involved with this recipe, so if you can prepare it in advance of a fasting day, you might find that easier than spending a lot of time around food preparation on a day when you are feeling hungry! Use whatever vegetables you have to hand: I had a mix of fresh and frozen ones. It’s the split peas and the rice that are the main source of calories for this dish.

Vegetable and split pea curry with brown basmati rice

Recipe for Vegetable and split pea curry (serves 2)

90g yellow split peas
400g whole eggplants/aubergines
200g pumpkin, peeled and diced into large pieces
1 tsp olive oil
100g onions, sliced
Vegetable ingredients for curry2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh grated ginger*
100g mixed peppers, sliced
250g courgettes/zucchini (I froze batches of this, grated, in the glut days of summer)
250g fresh or canned tomatoes, blended to a sauce
salt & pepper
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
fresh coriander/cilantro to garnish
80g brown basmati rice

Total calories per serving: 500

Method: Heat the oven to 350°F/180°C and roast the eggplant and diced pumpkin for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Rinse the split peas, put them in a pan and cover them in water. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft (about 45 minutes). Heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the onions and garlic. Add the cumin and turmeric and cook until the spices are fragrant, then stir in the peppers (I used a mixture of sweet peppers and chillis for a bit of heat) and ginger. Cook until the peppers have softened, then stir in the courgettes and tomato. Dice the cooked eggplant/aubergine and add to the curry with the drained peas and pumpkin. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, while you bring the rice to the boil and cook it until tender, then stir the lime or lemon juice into the curry and serve over the rice. Finish off with some coriander/cilantro leaves.

*I keep a root of ginger in the freezer and grate it from frozen when I need some: the rough skin doesn’t go through the grater, so you don’t have to peel it.

I had a few pieces of fruit and vegetables for lunch, as I was at a work-related event and didn’t want to look too weird about not eating. Because I was out all day, supper was a soup which I’d made for a non-fasting week-day lunch earlier in the week. At the time I hadn’t counted the calories, but I did so in retrospect today and it worked out quite OK as a fasting-day main meal (with some bread). I didn’t think to take a photo of it though!

Recipe for Curried lamb and winter vegetable soup (serves 4)

1 tsp butter
Winter vegetables150g onions, peeled and diced
250g carrots, diced
100g Jerusalem artichokes, diced
250g potatoes, diced
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder
1 litre stock
1 tbsp cornflour
100g cooked lamb, diced

Total calories per serving: 180

Method: Melt butter in a large saucepan and stir in the onions, cooking until they turn transparent. Add the other vegetables and the curry powder and cook over a low heat for five minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil and cook at a simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Mix the cornflour in a little water and stir it into the soup to thicken it. Use a potato masher to help break the vegetables up and make the soup thicker (or blend the soup, if you prefer a smoother version). Add the diced cooked lamb and warm through to serve.

We had this soup with a thickish slice of my oat-laced bread, bringing the total for this meal to 370.