Archives for posts with tag: family-friendly

Pork and Pinto curry

I had some leftover pork from a Sunday roast to use up, so it went into this curry with some pinto beans, carrot and onions to make a filling meal for a fasting day. You could easily replace the pork with more beans or with another vegetable to make this a vegetarian or vegan dish. I served it with a cup of brown rice, which adds 140 calories per portion. I also served naan bread for the non-fasters. This is a very mild, child-friendly curry – for a bit more kick you could add chilli powder or a fresh red chilli pepper.

Pork and pinto curry (serves 5)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 cup uncooked pinto beans 134
200g cold roast pork, diced 117
1 tbsp oil 25
1 onion, diced 9
1 tsp ground ginger 1
1 tsp ground cumin 2
1 tsp smoked paprika 1
1 tsp turmeric 2
200g carrot, diced 16
100ml coconut milk 47
salt & pepper 0
1 tbsp cornflour 5

Total calories per serving: 355

Method: Soak the pinto beans in cold water for at least five hours (or cover the beans with just-boiled water to speed up the soaking time to one hour). I cooked mine in the pressure cooker with the diced pork for ten minutes in three cups of water. You’d have to simmer them for an hour if you’re not using a pressure cooker (and I probably wouldn’t put them in with the pork if I was doing it that way). Reserve the cooking water.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, cooking until it is translucent. Add the spices and then the carrot and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, the beans and the pork, adding as much of the beans’ cooking water as needed to make the sauce. Cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the carrots are tender. Stir the cornflour into a few tablespoons of cold water and then add it to the curry, stirring until the sauce thickens up.


salmon and cauliflower rice

I served this with noodles for the non-fasting members of the family.

Salmon with spiced cauliflower rice (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
4 112g/quarter pound fillets of salmon 149
1 medium head of cauliflower 36
2 tbsps oil 60
1 onion, diced 11
1 tbsp turmeric 2
1 tbsp ground cumin 2
1 tbsp allspice 1
salt & pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 260

Method: Use a food processor to blitz the cauliflower into tiny pieces. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and cook the onion until translucent. Stir in the cauliflower, spices and seasoning and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, cook the salmon separately in the remaining tablespoon of oil.

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).

Roasted tomato and garlic soup

This is such a simple soup and tastes so good for so few calories. Both my teenagers assert that this is their second favourite soup – and their favourites are different, so this is a good way to please everyone. I’ve made four batches of it today (still having a bit of a tomato glut!).

Roasted tomato and garlic soup (serves 3)

Ingredient Calories per serving
2 tbsp olive oil 80
750g heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks if large 45
4 cloves garlic, peeled 6
salt and pepper 0
Handful of basil leaves 1

Total calories per serving: 130

Method: Heat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle the oil over the top. Sprinkle some salt and fresh pepper over and then roast for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a blender or food processor. Pour the juices from the pan in with them and add the basil leaves. Blitz until smooth and serve immediately (or cool the soup and freeze it for later use).

Smoked salmon and spinach quiche

This quiche was inspired by a similar recipe I saw on the Hairy Dieters TV series a few months ago. If you use the butter sparingly, filo/phyllo pastry isn’t very high in calories. I still had a few sheets left after making the salmon and spinach parcels the other day, so I used them in this. In terms of ingredients it is very similar to the other recipe, but a bit lighter in calories. I served this with a big plateful of salad and the whole meal still came in at under 300 calories.

Smoked salmon and spinach quiche (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
3 eggs 47
125g ricotta cheese 43
100ml milk 13
salt and pepper 0
50g fresh spinach, trimmed and roughly shredded 3
50g smoked salmon, cut into thin strips 15
10g butter 18
4 phyllo/filo pastry sheets (110g) 82
sprigs of dill 2

Total calories per serving: 225

Method: Beat the eggs with the ricotta cheese and stir in the milk and seasoning. Melt the butter and layer the pastry in a shallow round dish, brushing a little melted butter on each layer as you go and overlapping the edges of the dish. Spread the spinach over the pastry base and evenly distribute the salmon over the top of the spinach. Pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle the sprigs of dill over the top. Scrunch the overhanging pastry up around the inside edge of the dish and brush with any leftover butter.

Smoked salmon and spinach quicheBake at 350°F/180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the egg has set and the pastry is a golden brown. Slice into four and serve.

Salmon and spinach parcelsSalmon and spinach parcels (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
50g butter 90
100g fresh spinach, trimmed and roughly shredded 6
150g ricotta cheese 52
Rind and juice of 1 lemon 3
Freshly ground pepper 0
6 phyllo/filo pastry sheets 90
4x100g uncooked salmon fillets 206

Total calories per serving: 445

Method: Put the butter in a small saucepan, melt it and pour half of it into a small bowl. Put the pan back on the heat with the remaining butter and add the chopped spinach. Cook the spinach until wilted, then remove from the heat and mix in the ricotta, lemon juice and rind and fresh pepper.

Unroll the pastry sheets. Spread the first out and brush it with the melted butter. Spread another sheet over the first, brush with butter again and finish by laying the third sheet over the second. Place a salmon fillet on each half of the pastry sheet and top them with a quarter of the spinach mixture. At this point it looks like this:

Salmon on pastry

Cut through the pastry sheets between the two salmon fillets, then fold the edges of the pastry over the fish to make a parcel. Place them on a baking sheet with the folded edges uppermost. If you have any melted butter left, brush it over the top. Repeat this process with the remaining three sheets of pastry and the other two salmon fillets, then oven-bake the parcels at 375°F/190°C for twenty minutes.

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.

Salmon noodle salad

Recipe for Salmon noodle salad (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
50g sugar snap peas 5
100g cherry tomatoes, halved 4
75g cucumber, peeled and diced 3
160g rice vermicelli noodles 151
430g salmon fillet 177
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated 2
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey 26
2 tbsp soy sauce 4
1 tsp lemon juice 0
several sprigs of cilantro/coriander, chopped 2

Total calories per serving: 375

Method: Steam the peas for 5 minutes, or until tender. Cool under running water and set aside. Pour boiling water over the noodles and leave for 5 minutes. Refresh the noodles under cold water and allow to drain. Combine one tablespoon of soy sauce with the ginger and one tablespoon of maple syrup. Brush this over the salmon fillet and cook under a grill/broiler for 5-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish). When the fish is cooked, assemble the salad by transferring the noodles to four bowls and adding the tomatoes, cucumber, peas and cilantro/coriander leaves. Mix together the remaining maple syrup, soy sauce and lemon juice and add that to the noodles as a dressing. Finally, flake the salmon (discarding the skin) and divide it between the four bowls.

Black bean burritos

Recipe for Black bean burrito (serves 3)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tsp oil 13
1 red pepper, sliced 12
1 chilli pepper, sliced 2
1 small onion, diced 9
2 cloves garlic, chopped 3
1 tsp cumin seeds 3
1½ cups black beans, cooked 114
½ cup sweetcorn kernels, canned, fresh or frozen 19
3 8-inch flour tortillas 90
75g Cheddar cheese 43

Total calories per serving: 310

Method: Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the sliced peppers at a moderately high heat until softened and starting to brown. Remove from pan and put to one side. Lower the heat and cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the cumin (and some chilli powder if you like it hotter – fresh cilantro/coriander leaves are good in this too) and cook for another minute or two. Meanwhile, add half a cup of water to the beans and whizz them to a pulp in a blender. Stir the beans into the onion mixture and cook until thick (a minute or two).

Burrito before rolling

Spread the bean mixture over the tortillas, not quite to the edges, then sprinkle the peppers, corn and cheese over the top, reserving a little of the cheese. Roll the tortillas up into cylinders and put onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over them and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the edges are slightly brown.

Omelette muffins

I found this recipe here and immediately thought that these low-carb muffins would make a good brunch for a fasting day, or even as breakfast-on-the-hoof if you made a batch at the weekend and ate them over the course of a week, either cold or reheated in a microwave. You can use whatever you have to hand as a filling, just like regular omelettes.

I had some sausages to use up, which raises the calorie content quite a bit, but if you replaced the sausages with the same weight of mushrooms (and a bit of butter to cook them in), these would be very respectable 210 calories for three vegetarian muffins, or 70 each.

Recipe for Omelette muffins (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
200g sausages, cut into 1cm pieces 106
50g sugar snap peas, chopped into small pieces 10
25g kale, sliced 3
8 eggs 126
¼ cup milk 8
½ tsp baking powder 1
salt and pepper, to taste 0
1 tsp oil 10
25g Parmesan, grated 22

Total calories per serving (3 muffins): 285 (95 per muffin)

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5. Cook the sausage pieces over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until cooked (do the same with 200g chopped mushrooms, in a tablespoon of butter, if doing the vegetarian version). Stir in the peas and kale (or whichever other vegetables you have to hand) and cook for another minute or two, until the kale is soft.

Grease a 12-muffin tin with the oil and distribute the sausage pieces and vegetables among them. Beat the eggs, milk, seasoning and baking powder together and pour into the muffin tin. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the top and bake for 15 minutes.