Archives for category: Not-really-fasting-food

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).


Chocolate gelatoAs I’ve said before, you probably won’t be wanting to use up 175 calories on a dessert on a fasting day, but this is another low-calorie iced milk dish which might be useful when you’re not fasting. The recipe is from Kitty Travers and was originally published in the Telegraph in 2011. I’ve renamed it, as ‘Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream’ seemed a bit of a misnomer for a dessert without cream. I’ve also simplified the method a bit.

Recipe for Chocolate gelato (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
450 ml/2 cups milk (2% fat) 61
15g/½oz cornflour 13
50g/2oz cocoa powder 28
75g/3oz sugar 73

Total calories per serving: 175

Method: Mix together the cornflour and about a quarter of the milk in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa powder and sugar and slowly add the rest of the milk. Stir the ingredients over a medium heat until the cornflour starts to thicken and the mixture turns glossy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then put in the refrigerator for an hour or two to chill. Pour the cold mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen.

Realistically, you probably won’t want to use up 240 of your fasting-day calories on a dessert. But I’m including this here because it proves that not all delicious desserts have to be dripping with calories.

Maple Vanilla Gelato

Recipe for Maple vanilla gelato (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 litre/4 cups milk (2% fat) 129
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract) 0 (3)
¼ cup maple syrup (or sugar) 51 (48)
4 eggs 63

Total calories per serving: 240

Method: Split the vanilla pod (if using) with a knife and put in a pan with the milk and maple syrup/sugar. Heat the milk to boiling point and then leave to infuse for ten minutes or so. Break the eggs into a blender and whizz until smooth (this avoids having lumps of egg white in the finished desert). Reheat the milk until hot and pour over the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl over some ice cubes to cool it down before freezing according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (add vanilla extract at this point, if that’s what you’re using).

Pureed split peasIt’s a bit of a stretch, putting the recipe for this soup on this blog, as it comes out at 480 calories per serving, so would constitute the only meal a woman on the 5:2 diet could eat on a fasting day, and wouldn’t leave a man a lot of spare calories either. Having said that, it is amazingly filling, so if you are saving all your calories for one meal, then this should keep you satiated until bedtime.

This is a traditional London split-pea and ham hock soup, named for the capital’s own version of the horrendous thick yellow ‘peasouper’ smogs which plagued large cities in the days when everyone burned coal in their fireplaces.

I’d never cooked ham hocks before and you don’t often see cuts like this in the supermarkets here in Canada, so I bought two a few months ago and they’ve been taking up freezer space ever since while I tried to work out what to do with them. Then I noticed Fiona Maclean’s Best of British – London blog post about sharing recipes for London foods and the idea of using the hocks to make a London Particular began to take shape in my head. Fiona’s also sharing recipes for the 5:2 diet, by the way.

The soup is made from very low-cost ingredients (ideal in these austere times!) – I worked out that the total cost per serving today was under $2 (around £1.25), partly because the meat was 30% off.

One branch of my family were impoverished silk weavers in London’s East End in the late nineteenth century and this is probably the sort of cheap and yet cheerful food they would have consumed. I’ve stuck to ingredients which would have been readily available to my London ancestors, so this is a very simple recipe, but no less satisfying for that.

Recipe for London Particular soup (serves 4)

2 ham hocks (mine were unsmoked, but smoked would have been even better, if you can find them)
2 cups yellow split peas
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled

Total calories per serving: 480

Method: Cover the hocks with water, bring to the boil and cook over a low heat for 2 hours. Strain off the liquid and keep it for cooking the peas. Rinse the split peas and then put them in a pan with a litre of the reserved water from the hocks, the onion and the carrots. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes or until the peas are soft.

Shredded ham hock meatWhen it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the hocks with your fingers, removing the skin and any fatty bits, and set aside. I found that the two hocks yielded 300g of meat. It should be very tender and fall easily off the bones.

Purée the pea mixture in a blender, then stir in the shredded meat and season to your taste. With unsmoked hocks you will need more salt than you would with smoked ones.

London Particular soup

Can you imagine walking through fog that colour? Nice in your mouth, not so good in your lungs!