Tag Archives: low fat

Rhubarb and Orange Compote with Yogurt and Museli

A little breakfast recipe here to ease back into the swing of things! This Rhubarb and Orange Compote is a nice zingy way to pep up your yogurt and museli and gets the day off to a great start! I didn’t used to be a breakfast person.  In fact I spent about 28 years avoiding the meal!  Nowadays, however, I cannot get going until I’ve had a good breakfast and I know that a bad breakfast will hold me back the whole day, no matter how much I’ve enjoyed it! (I’m looking at you, croissants!).  I need protein to kickstart me, sugary cereals and pastries do me no good at all.  I tend to turn to eggs but some days you just don’t want anything cooked, a cool bowl of greek yogurt, fruit and museli is just perfect for me then!

Rhubarb and Orange Compote

My love affair with rhubarb is well documented.  I love the colour and the tartness.  I think the combination of rhubarb and orange is just diving, a really zingy combination that hits your tastebuds and wakes you up! Perfect breakfast food!

Rhubarb and Orange Compote

 

Serves 2 generously, 4 more reservedly

~3 stalks rhubarb, trimmed
~100-150ml orange juice (just enough to come about halfway up your rhubarb in the pan)
2 tbsp sugar (or  honey as a natural alternative) *

Plain Greek Yogurt and Museli to serve

– Trim your rhubarb and chop it to about 2″ lengths.
– Pop it in a small saucepan with enough orange juice to come about halfway up your rhubarb and the sugar or honey.
– Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until your rhubarb is soft.
– You can serve it warm but I like to prep this in advance for a cold breakfast.
– Serve with greek yogurt and museli.  I like to mix up my own museli according to my mood, this time it was oats, almonds, hazelnuts and goji berries.

*You may find you can dial down or even leave out the sugar here if you like.  The sugar in the orange juice may be enough for you, especially if you are using a juice from concentrate rather than fresh as it has added sugars already.  I still have a painfully sweet tooth but I’m getting there cutting down slowly!

 

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Filed under Breakfasts, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Falafel

 

 

 

Falafel is something I have had a troubled relationship with.  For years I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t!  Everything was ether too bland or too spicy or too mushy or just not right!  However, with this recipe I really feel like I’ve cracked it.  And I feel that the key is to really amp up the spices.  Not too much chili, but spices, the cumin and coriander, and a good dash of salt and pepper, are what are going to make your falafel sing! 
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It helps if you think of your falafel as portable hummous.  Just as a bland humous is nobody’s friend, so too for falafel so even if you look at these quantities and think I’m crazy, remember, chickpeas are delicious but only with the proper accessories!

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The wonderful thing about this falafel recipe is that it healthy and simple.  You basically put everything in a food processor and blitz it up! Simple!  And to keep the calorie count down on these falafel I oven bake them rather than frying them.  Would frying them make them tastier… well, yeah, probably! But I can’t afford those calories so oven baking it is!  That’s why we amp up the spices, what you lose in fat you can make up in flavour!

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Makes ~15 falafel balls

2 x 400g tins of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 LARGE cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tbsp plain flour
~ 2 tbsp water if necessary

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Put everything except the water in the food processor.
– Blitz, scrape down the bowl, blitz again.  You want to keep blitzing until you have about half coarse mix, half smooth paste in there.  You don’t want to keep going until you get hummous!
– If it’s just not coming together into a paste at all then you might just need a little extra moisture to bind it so gradually add a little water at a time until it just comes together.  You don’t want to add too much or you get a soft, sticky falafel!
– Using your hands (or if you’re weird about these things feel free to use spoons/a small ice cream scoop) grab a ping pong ball sized amount of mixture and gently shape it into a nice round ball.
– Place on a very lightly greased baking tray (a quick spray with olive oil will do) and repeat until your mixture is all gone.
– Give all of your falafel a light spritz with an olive oil spray.
– Place in the top of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The falafel should just be turning brown in places and should be crisp to the touch.
– Serve with salad, pita and haydari… or whatever else takes your fancy!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Low Fat, Mains

Red Lentil Daal

Over the last year surely everyone has heard of the 5:2 Fast Diet?  Well, I am one of the latest people to give it a try.  I haven’t been doing it for long enough to really pass judgement yet.  Suffice to say, it’s not hard, you just have to have some will power, and perhaps a little creativity too!   Whether or not you’re interested in fasting, this is a delicious, low fat, low calorie dish that can be enjoyed any day you like!

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Serves 2 (~170 calories each)

1 / 2 squirts olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
75g red lentils
salt and pepper to taste
fresh coriander to serve

– Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.  You really want to be using as little as physically possible here, it really is to just stop the onion sticking.
– Add the onion and garlic and cook until just turning translucent.
– Add the herbs and spices and cook for another minute.
– Add the chopped tomatoes and about half a can of water.  (Swish it around to get the last tomato bits out.)
– Add the lentils and bring to the boil.
– Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat.
– Season to taste and serve scattered with fresh coriander.
– A grilled chicken breast makes an excellent addition too!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains, Sides

Breakfast Omelettes To Go

I have a complicated relationship with breakfast.  I am NOT a morning person.  I am about as far from the concept of a morning person as it is possible to get.  If given the option to choose more sleep over almost anything else I will do it.  I am the queen of “5 more minutes”.  Which leaves me with a problem: Breakfast.  Because I will always, always, choose to stay in bed for those fabulous “5 more minutes” over getting up and getting breakfast.

For years I just skipped breakfast.  I would grab something mid morning when I was more up to thinking and eating, usually something sweet and sticky!  Or I’d grab some pop tarts or a croissant and run out of the house.  And that’s where my second problem happened.  Sugary breakfasts do not agree with me.  I’ve been working through some health issues this year and one thing I’ve been paying much more attention to is the food I’m eating and the effect it has on me.  Sugary breakfasts are great, I mean, it’s sugar, yum! But I find that if I’ve had a sweet, carby breakfast I am slower to wake up, I feel sluggish all day and generally down in the dumps.   I also run out of energy by the time I get home after work and often succumb to a nap.  All in all not ideal.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! I found a solution;  Sugar wasn’t working for me but I needed to eat something to get me through the day.  Eggs.  Eggs are a classic for a very good reason: They’re awesome! But mornings were still an issue for me.  So I needed to find a way to have something egg based that I could prepare in advance and then just grab and go.  Breakfast Omelettes To Go were born!  Not only do they give me energy, I feel full until lunchtime, no need for a sugary morning snack, I feel bright and clean and energised throughout the day.  They are easy to eat on the go, or to wolf down while the kettle boils and they also help me get my veggie portions in.  They also come in at around 100cal each, so ditching the sugar and turning to these has also helped me lose weight I desperately needed to lose without feeling like I’m missing out on anything at all.  All in all these are a total winner for me!

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Makes 6 mini omelettes (I either eat 2 for a perfectly filling, under 200cal breakfast!*)

12 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
2 handfuls spinach
6 large, free range eggs
splash of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp corriander
salt and pepper to taste

– Heat a very small splash of olive oil in a frying pan.
– Add the tomatoes and pepper.  Cook, stiring, until the tomato skins are starting to burst and colour.
– Add the spinach and stir occasionally until wilted and any excess water has evaporated.  Get a nice char on the veg if you can.  (Beware the smoke alarm!)
– Divide the vegetables equally between the holes of a 6 hole silicone muffin tray.  **
– In a jug mix the 6 eggs, splash of milk, chilli flakes, corriander and salt and pepper.  Beat with a form to combine.
– Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables equally between the 6 holes.  This should come up to just the top of the holes.
– I cook mine for 15 minutes in my toaster oven at 220C.  You could use a grill or cook them in a regular oven at 200C.  You could even microwave them for 2-3 minutes if your muffin tin will fit in and turn round cleanly.  You want to cook them until they are just set in the middle.
– Once they are cooked and cooled put them in easy to grab tupperware in the fridge.
– In the morning bung them in the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy!

* Variations: Why not switch out one omlette for a turkey sausage (tasty and low fat!) or add some closed cup mushrooms to the box too (virtually calorie free and full of flavour!).  If you’re adding mushrooms cook everything for 2 1/2 minutes to ensure the mushroom is cooked.  You can also play around with the vegetables to your heart’s content!
** I generally don’t recommend using a silicone mould for muffins and cupcakes, you just don’t get as good a rise.  For this, however, a silicone mould is perfect.  The eggs just pop right out, no need to grease.

 

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Falafel Burgers

My kitchen karma has disappeared!  Tonight I made falafel burgers and pita bread for dinner.  Now the falafel burgers just aren’t that great I am afraid to say, at least in my opinion, but the pitas… well, I’m not sure they were pitas.  They were closer to really flat bread buns! 

I had seen the recipe for Falafel Burgers over at Good Food a while ago and thought they sounded great.  Not only were they low-calorie but it was a way of getting more pulses in my diet and all of the comments said how surprisingly tasty they were.  I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say I was not impressed.  They were essentially bland and squishy dollops of meh.  I ended up piling mine up with salad to try and get some flavour.  If you happen to be a fan of chick peas then I suggest doubling the amount of harissa paste and putting in at least 2 good pinches of salt.  I’m willing to accept that may be I just didn’t like them but I had such high hopes for this recipe that I find myself very disappointed. 

As for the pita, I must not have knocked down the dough well enough as they came out all puffy and fat.  More like someone had sat on a bread bun than a pita!  I had made up the dough then got distracted and it sat for 30 minutes and rose quite well.  I knocked it down and carried on as usual but obviously that was a mistake.  We had to cut the pockets into them, nothing had formed like normal.  They were delicious, really lovely and soft and you could, as you see above, cram so much more than you would normally be able to inside of them but not really pita.  I may, however have inadvertently come up with a lovely flatbread recipe!

Falafel Burger Recipe

Makes 6 small, 4 large

400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp harissa paste (or chilli powder) *
2 tbsp plain flour
pinch salt*

– Dry off the chick peas with kitchen paper. 
– Put everything in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste and everything is well mixed. 
– Divide the mixture and shape it into patties with your hands. 
– Fry for 3 minutes each side, or use a health grill. 
– Serve with pita, salad, salsa and yogurt. 

* Double these. 

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Low Fat Chicken and Mushroom Filo Pie Recipe

As the nights draw in I’m trying to find more recipes that come from the traditional comfort food genre but that don’t pile on the stodge and calories.  Tonight’s effort was supposed to be cooked with a low fat shortcrust recipe I’d seen, however, as I was still an hour away from home when I should have started making that I whizzed into Tesco and grabbed a packet of filo pastry.  I usually use olive oil instead of butter in any event so I saved on the fat there too.  As for accompaniments I had a quick whip round the freezer and found some oven chips, again a healthier alternative.  We were going to have peas too but they have gone AWOL so no peas. 

Chicken and Mushroom Filo Pie

Serves 4

7 sheets of filo pastry
1 onion, chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3 chicken breasts, in chunks
a good splash of olive oil
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 pint chicken stock

– Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6. 
– Select your pie dish and brush with oil. 
– Line with 4 sheets of filo pastry, brushing lightly with oil between each layer.  The pastry should over hang the dish. 
– Heat some oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion with a pinch of salt until soft.
– Add the mushrooms and brown then add the chicken and cook until just browning.
– In a separate pan heat the oil then add the corn flour and rapidly whisk together. 
– Add the chicken stock to this mix and cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. 
– Stir together the contents of the two pans. 
– Spoon this into the pie dish on top of the pastry. 
– Fold the filo sheets over the top of the filling and brush lightly with oil. 
– Scrunch up the remaining 3 sheets and arrange on top of the pie then brush with oil. 
– Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
– Serve and enjoy!

(I also made mini pies in a muffin tin with the leftover filo and a fresh batch of filling, just follow the same process in minature!  I then froze them for later use in lunches.)

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Chilli Turkey Burgers and Red Onion and Tomato Salsa Recipe

An excellent low fat burger option.  Delicious and nutritious!

 

Chilli Turkey Burgers

Makes 4

500g turkey mince
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp fresh corriander, chopped
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped

– Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl using your hand.  Make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. 
– Divide the mixture into four and shape into patties by slapping the mixture between your hands to remove the air, then shaping it into round burgers. 
– Place the burgers on a plate and cover then leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
– Cook under the grill or on a bbq for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. 
– Serve on buns with lettuce, Red Onion and Tomato Salsa and creme fraiche. 

Red Onion and Tomato Salsa

1/2 a red onion, chopped
12 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp fresh corriander, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice

– Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, mix thoroughly and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

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