Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!

Chicken bhuna

You’ll find lots of cracking Indian ‘fakeaway’ dishes throughout the Hairy Dieters’ books and Chicken Bhuna is right up there with the best of them. In fact, if my 13-year old son didn’t despise peppers I’d probably make this more often than I do. Perhaps it’s time to show the boy some tough love and make him eat this belting curry more often? I digress…

I really like the simplicity of this recipe. Unlike the majority of Indian dishes which require lots of spices, this one only uses mild curry powder and garam masala. The addition of the fresh ginger, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder work their magic to produce a fantastic sauce and hey presto, job done.

The calorie count is 305 calories but do keep in mind this is WITHOUT including rice and/or naan bread. But if you do succumb to these extras this meal is still far healthier than a standard takeaway, and a damn site cheaper and dare I say it, tastier too! Continue reading “Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!”


Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!

Smashed up Chicken

The Hairy Dieters’ Smashed Up Chicken is a household favourite in my home and combines some cracking flavours to give this dish a creamy, luxurious feel which is soooooo yummy to eat. It’s definitely one of the ‘Hairy Ones’ finest recipes which has been adapted and ‘slimmed down’ from one of their earlier books, but the end result feels more like restaurant food rather than ‘diet’ food.

There’s a fair few ingredients here and you’ll need three different pans, so if you’re making this on a week night after work I suggest you prep and get all the ingredients out in advance so you don’t feel flustered. However, this is a cinch to make but I tend to cook it on a weekend when I’m less pushed for time. If you have sufficient willpower (and hey I’m not judging if you don’t), you can save any leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you’re a huge pasta pan, and let’s face it who isn’t, then why not try the Hairy Dieters’ Pasta Puttanesca and Tagliatelle Carbonara which are featured elsewhere on this blog. Continue reading “Smashed Up Chicken – simply smashing!”

Fish Curry (in a hurry!)

Fish curry

Fish Curry from the Hairy Dieters’ Fast Food book is a sumptuous hot and sour one-pan treat which can be prepped and cooked in about half an hour. It may seem like a lot of ingredients but they are mainly just spices which combine to produce a gorgeous and distinctive flavour.

The Hairy Dieters suggest using hake or tilapia (I’ve never heard of this fish before), but I’ve previously used cod on the occasions I’ve made this recipe. It probably isn’t as ‘firm’ as the other two but it works well for me. My local Co-Op frequently discounts cod fillets towards the end of the day so I pop them in the freezer and defrost them when I’m ready to rustle this meal up at a bargain cost.

This is a brilliant meal to do if you’re following a 5:2 diet (just 226 calories per serving), and even if you’re not and want to enjoy an extra helping (I have been known to!) then it’s still only going to set you back 452 calories! Continue reading “Fish Curry (in a hurry!)”

Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry

Thai chicken curry

Despite the number of ingredients, Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry from the Hairy Dieters’ inaugural book is indeed easy to make and quick for a weeknight tea providing you get everything out on your working top before you start.

I’m not a huge fan of rice, but even if you are, I don’t think this recipe necessarily warrants the addition of anything else given that the chicken is bulked out by the peppers and mangetout. If you can resist having rice, the calorie count for this ‘fakeaway’ dish is waistline friendly and perfect if you’re having a ‘5:2’ day and seeking a healthy evening meal for under 300 calories.

My only slight criticism is that even with the addition of the cornflour this curry is a tad watery for my liking so I tend to cook for longer than the suggested timings listed below. Try it yourself, as Neil Buchanan from Art Attack famously said (or perhaps not famously at all). Continue reading “Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry”

Pan Haggerty Lite – one-pan wonder for 87p per portion!


Pan Haggerty Lite from the Hairy Dieters is a low-cal take on a classic ‘Geordie’ comfort food dish – that’s the North East of England to my overseas followers. Using only a half-dozen or so ingredients which you probably will have knocking around your fridge, this cracking one-pan treat is perfect for cold autumn and winter nights.

You might think how can a meal comprising just bacon, onions, carrots, potatoes and cheese taste so good? Well, be prepared to be surprised and I guarantee this will become a firm favourite in your household, or your money back (ok, maybe I’m kidding about issuing refunds). The added bonus is that Pan Haggerty is so cheap to make!

There’s a reasonable amount of prep and cooking time involved to make this a quick weeknight meal, so I recommend prepping in advance so you can fire everything into a pan. The Hairy Dieters suggest serving this with some freshly cooked green vegetables – some broccoli or green beans would suffice. I think that’s a sensible suggestion, otherwise it will be hard for you to resist demolishing the entire contents of the pan!! Continue reading “Pan Haggerty Lite – one-pan wonder for 87p per portion!”

Transylvanian meatballs with garlic sauce


*NB disclaimer* if you don’t like garlic, you won’t like this as Transylvanian Meatballs from the Hairy Dieters uses a full head of garlic and four separate cloves just for good measure!

I must admit to being disappointed after slaving away in the kitchen to make this recipe only for it to taste rather bland, somewhat ‘cardboardy’ and the garlic sauce was, well, a little too garlicy for my liking. I served it with a side salad as an alternative to pasta due to the calorie count already being quite high.

The Hairy Dieters do include two other meatball recipes in their various healthy eating books – Italian Meatballs in chunky tomato sauce from their ‘How to love food and lose weight’ book and Swedish Meatballs in their ‘Good eating’ publication. Both of these are cracking alternatives to ‘Transylvanian meatballs’ in my opinion. Where is Transylvania anyway? Continue reading “Transylvanian meatballs with garlic sauce”

Avocado on toast


When I was a lad, a smart fitting suit and a dollop of decent aftershave was enough to impress the ladies. But times have changed. So boys, if you want to woo the woman of your dreams, get yourself down to the supermarket, pick up some avocados and rustle up this Avocado on Toast recipe from the Hairy Dieters’ ‘Go Veggie’ book.

Joking aside, it’s become really fashionable to eat avocado for both men and women and celebrity chefs, such as Jamie Oliver, have produced endless recipes for this increasingly popular fruit (avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable, by the way). The Hairy Dieters’ take on avocado on toast is really tasty with the cherry tomatoes mixed with lemon zest and vinegar (I used balsamic) topped with a dash of hot sauce and sprinklings of paprika. Yum.

This is a perfect breakfast or brunch dish which is very quick to make. Get yourself some good quality bread, sourdough is perfect, and tuck in. This is a real treat to eat for yourself, or better still, make it for someone you love.
Continue reading “Avocado on toast”