Archives for the month of: May, 2013


Recipe for Chickpea, Tuscan kale and snap pea salad (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tsp butter or oil 34
50g Tuscan kale, washed and sliced into strips 25
15g snap peas/mangetout 12
100g chickpeas (cooked weight) 119
grated zest of a lemon 1
salt and freshly ground pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 190

Method: Heat the butter or oil in a small pan and cook the kale and snap peas in it until just soft. Add the chickpeas, lemon zest and seasoning and heat until just warmed through. Serve.


Black (bean) pudding (with scrambled egg and mushrooms)

This is a vegan version of the traditional British breakfast component, black pudding, which is made from pig’s blood. I had some leftover cooked black beans and had promised to make a full cooked breakfast as a Sunday treat for the children. We can’t get black pudding here very easily, but it occurred to me that I could probably make something vaguely resembling it with the leftover beans, some ground oats, onion and spices. You don’t have to serve this at breakfast – it makes a perfectly respectable black bean burger, too! Vary the spices according to your own tastes.

Recipe for Black (bean) pudding (serves 3)

Ingredient Calories per serving
220g/1¼ cups cooked black beans 97
1 onion, grated 15
50g/½ cup oats, ground to a powder in a blender 63
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper 0
1 tsp smoked paprika 2
1 clove garlic, crushed 1

Total calories per serving: 180

Method: Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smoothish. Form the mixture into three patties. At this stage the mixture looks fairly pale:

Black bean patties before cooking
Refrigerate the patties until needed, then fry in oil for about five minutes on each side, until warmed through. Now they should be properly black.

If you add two eggs and three mushrooms fried in a teaspoon of fat per person, you will have made yourself a respectable brunch for 350 calories.

It’s asparagus time here and I’m picking this seasonal treat every other day from the patch in our barnyard. I like it on its own with butter, but adding other ingredients makes it feel like even more of a treat. As well as being delicious, asparagus is pleasingly low in calories and therefore a great ingredient for fasting days. Here are a couple of ways I’ve eaten my harvests this week.

Asparagus and sugar snap peas with blue cheese and cashews
Recipe for Asparagus and snap peas with blue cheese and cashew nuts (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
150g asparagus 30
35g sugar snap peas/mangetout 15
25g cashew nuts, roughly chopped 144
25g blue cheese 88

Total calories per serving: 275

Method: Steam the asparagus for about five minutes and toast the cashew pieces in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the peas to the asparagus towards the end of their cooking time and cook until they and the asparagus are tender. Arrange the vegetables on a small plate, crumble the blue cheese over them and then top with the cashew pieces.

Asparagus with Cheddar, chorizo and sun-dried tomatoes

Recipe for Asparagus with Cheddar, sun-dried tomatoes and chorizo (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
200g asparagus 40
25g chorizo, diced small 114
15g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped 32
50g mature Cheddar, grated 87

Total calories per serving: 275
Method: Dry fry the chorizo until lightly browned. Steam or microwave the asparagus until almost done. Sprinkle the tomato, chorizo and cheese over the asparagus and microwave for a minute or so until the cheese is melted (or you could do this under the broiler/grill – I was at work and only had the microwave option).

Smoked Salmon, Shrimp and Sugar Snap salad

This is a really simple but refreshing salad, ideal for warm sunny days (assuming that we get some!).

Recipe for Smoked salmon salad with lemon and dill dressing (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 cup brown rice 172
50g sugar snap peas/mangetout 5
1 tbsp soy sauce 2
1 tbsp white wine/rice vinegar 1
175g cottage cheese 39
2 tbsp yoghurt 5
zest of 1 lemon 4
a few sprigs of dill, chopped 3
salt and pepper 3
140g lettuce leaves 5
275g cooked, peeled shrimp/prawns 82
100g smoked salmon 29
lemon wedges, to serve 3

Total calories per serving: 350

Method: Cook the rice in twice the volume of water until tender (about 20 minutes for brown rice). Steam the peas over the rice for 2-3 minutes and then rinse in cold water to stop them from losing their bright green colour. When the rice is done and has absorbed all the water, stir the vinegar and soy sauce into it and allow to get cold.

Make the dressing by blending the cottage cheese, lemon zest, dill, yoghurt and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth. Arrange the lettuce, smoked salmon, peas, shrimp and rice on plates and drizzle the dressing over the lettuce. Serve the zested lemon on the side, cut into wedges.

Salmon Sushi
Supermarket shopping rarely fills me with delight, but this week I discovered that one of our local stores stocks roasted seaweed sheets, pickled ginger, wasabi sauce and sushi rice. Sushi rolls were an occasional treat for me when I lived in the UK, but here in rural Ontario they are not something I get to eat very often. This was my first ever attempt at making my own (which is why they look a bit rustic!) and I was pleased to discover that once made, this came in nicely under the calorie limit for a fasting day.

Recipe for Salmon sushi (serves 5)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1¼ cups sushi rice 169
1 asparagus spear 1
1lb/450g salmon 187
4 tbsp rice vinegar 8
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey 10
4 roasted seaweed sheets 8
½ cucumber, peeled and cut into long slices 6

Total calories per serving: 390

Method: Cook the rice in one and a half cups of water for about five minutes (I added the asparagus spear for the last two minutes to cook it through). Turn off the heat and let the remaining water be absorbed by the rice. Meanwhile, cook the salmon fillet by grilling/broiling it for about 8 minutes, turning once. Allow the salmon to cool and then slice it into approximately half-inch/1cm slices. Fold the vinegar and maple syrup/honey into the rice and allow to cool.

Spread out some plastic wrap and place a seaweed sheet on top of it, shinier side down. Pat a quarter of the rice over the lower two-thirds of the seaweed sheet. Arrange a slice or two of the salmon across the middle of the rice, with a line of cucumber batons (or the asparagus spear) next to it.

Roll up the plastic wrap and gently turn up the edge of the seaweed to enclose the rice, pressing the roll together as you go, until you have covered all the rice and used up all the seaweed. Put the roll in the fridge, still covered in the plastic wrap, until you are ready to eat. Repeat the process with the other three sheets of seaweed and remaining ingredients.

When you want to serve the meal, remove the plastic wrap, and cut the long rolls into six shorter ones with a sharp knife. I had leftover salmon and cucumber, so just served these alongside the sushi rolls with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger on the side.

Carrot., lentil and coriander/cilantro soupThe perennial and annual herbs are putting forth strong growth in the recent warm weather. This recipe makes the most of one of each: celery-flavoured lovage and fresh zingy cilantro (also known as coriander).

Recipe for Carrot, lentil and coriander/cilantro soup (serves 2)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tsp butter or oil 17
1 onion, diced 22
4 medium carrots, diced 50
1 sprig lovage, chopped 0
¼ cup red lentils 85
500ml vegetable stock 10
big handful of cilantro/coriander 3

Total calories per serving: 185

Method: Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, cooking over a low heat until softened. Stir in the chopped carrots and lovage (you could use celery in place of the lovage), cook for a further minute or two and then add the stock and lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the carrot pieces are tender. Remove from the heat, add the coriander/cilantro and liquidise the soup to a chunky consistency (or smooth, if you prefer) in a blender.

Asparagus and poached egg

This dish  is simple, delicious and very low in calories for a fasting day lunch!

Recipe for Poached egg and asparagus (serves 2)

Ingredient Calories per serving
2 very fresh eggs 63
180g (20 smallish spears) asparagus 18

Total calories per serving: 80

Method: Steam the asparagus for about 5 minutes or until tender. Bring a pan of water to a simmer and break in the eggs. Cook the eggs for 2 minutes, then arrange the asparagus spears on two plates and lift the eggs onto them. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuna, Egg and Asparagus SaladThe asparagus in my garden is just starting to send up the first shoots of the season. But they’re very slim and there isn’t enough to make a proper meal of them yet, so here I’ve added them to what is basically a de-constructed tuna mayonnaise sandwich.

Recipe for Tuna, egg and asparagus salad (serves 2)

Ingredient Calories per serving
2 eggs 63
1 tbsp olive oil 60
2 slices wholemeal bread, cut into cubes 82
50g thin asparagus spears, cut into short lengths 5
1 can albacore tuna 70
1 clove garlic, crushed 2

Total calories per serving: 280

Method: Put the eggs in a pan of water, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and then shallow fry the cubes of bread with the asparagus until the bread is crispy, adding the garlic towards the end of the cooking time. Then flake the tuna into a large bowl, stir in the bread and asparagus and serve garnished with the peeled hardboiled eggs, cut into quarters.

This recipe is knocking at the upper limit, calorie-wise, for a fasting day. But the wholemeal flour and the oats in the crumble topping will help to keep you full for a good few hours after eating, which wouldn’t be the case if you put the more traditional mashed potato on top.

Fish pie with dill and oat crumble

Recipe for Fish pie with dill and oat crumble (serves 5)

Ingredient Calories per serving
200g smoked cod fillets 40
350g haddock fillets 56
250g cooked peeled prawns/shrimp 59
300ml milk 31
25g butter 36
25g plain/all-purpose flour 18
90g butter 129
90g wholemeal flour 56
90g rolled oats 68
a few sprigs of dill, chopped 3

Total calories per serving: 495

Method: Place the cod and haddock in a saucepan with the milk, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat and lift the fish out of the milk and into a deep ovenproof dish, flaking it into bite-sized pieces as you go. Melt the 25g butter in another saucepan and stir in the flour, cooking over a low heat for a minute or two. Gradually add the milk from the first pan and stir until thickened into a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste, then pour the sauce over the fish and stir in the cooked prawns/shrimp.

Fish pie filling

Make the crumble by rubbing the 90g of butter into the flour by hand or (much easier) mixing them together in a food processor. Then stir in the oats and the dill and pile the crumble mixture on top of the fish. If making in advance, you can chill the dish in the fridge.

Cook in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 350°F/180°C, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling at the edges of the dish. If cooking from chilled, the dish will need 45 minutes to reach the same point.