Archives for the month of: November, 2013

Pesto mushrooms on spaghetti squash

Pesto mushrooms on spaghetti squash (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tbsp butter or oil 102
2 cloves garlic, finely diced 9
100g/4oz mushrooms, roughly chopped 21
200g/8oz (cooked weight) spaghetti squash 62
1 tbsp pesto 68

Total calories per serving: 260

Method: Cook the spaghetti squash until it is soft – either in a moderately hot oven for an hour or in the microwave for five minutes (pierce it in two or three places first using either method). Carefully cut the cooked squash in half, scoop out the seeds and scrape the flesh out of the outer shell. Keep it warm while you make the mushroom mixture.

Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan, then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Stir in the pesto, cook for a minute or two, then pile onto the warm spaghetti squash.

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If you have an ice cream maker, this is a quick-to-make dessert which is light on calories but not short on flavour. I keep bags of fruit in the freezer for nights like these when I feel that something sweet is needed, but don’t want to break the calorie bank. You can use any soft fruit you have to hand. Plain yoghurt instead of evaporated milk works fine, too (though you might need a little more sugar).

Blueberry and raspberry gelato

Blueberry and raspberry gelato (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 18
½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries 8
½ cup sugar 97
370ml evaporated milk (2% fat) 132

Total calories per serving: 255

Method: Heat the fruit and sugar in a pan over a medium heat until the sugar has melted into a syrup around the softened fruit. Blend the fruit and syrup until smooth. If you like, you can sieve the mixture to remove any pips (I didn’t bother). Stir in the evaporated milk and allow to cool (if you have time). Pour into the ice cream maker and churn until frozen and fluffy. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze until needed (or just eat it while it’s still a bit soft, like we did).

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Now the clocks have gone back and the weather is cooling, I’m making soup on a regular basis. This is a very autumnal one, with lovely orange pumpkin and yellow split peas. The peas add a filling starchiness to the soup, while the pumpkin provides a velvety smoothness. Pie pumpkins have a better texture than regular jack-o’lantern varieties – but you could also use butternut squash for this.

Pumpkin and split pea soup (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tbsp butter or oil 25
1 onion, diced 11
1 small pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced (435g) 37
1 cup yellow split peas 168
3½ cups/875ml  stock 9
A few sage leaves, finely shredded 2

Total calories per serving: 250

Method: Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion until soft. Stir in the pumpkin and sweat with the onion for five minutes. Add the split peas and stock and simmer until the peas are soft. This will take around 45 minutes – or you can really speed things up by using a pressure cooker, which will take about six minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt or pepper to your taste. Blend until smooth and serve, decorating the soup with a few shredded sage leaves.