Home-Made (smoky bacon) Baked Beans


I think I’ll stick to using regular cans of baked beans

Supermarket shopping during the pandemic has been challenging, particularly if you don’t feel comfortable stepping foot into stores. Getting hold of your favourite brands can also be problematic and my son Will has particularly missed his barbecue baked beans. I’ve tried to explain to him that some things are more important, but he’s a teenager ;-).

So, to avoid a household ‘crisis’ I decided to try making Home-Made Baked Beans from the Hairy Dieters. They suggest using dried haricot beans and soaking them overnight, or using 2 400g cans of cooked beans. I chose the latter because spending up to 2 hours to prep beans when I could just open a regular can, even in lockdown, seemed ridiculous. If you opt for using canned beans, in total it will take you about 40 minutes to make this.

Will’s verdict on my smoky bacon beans was soul destroying. “They don’t really taste of barbecue Dad”. “Thanks son”. But the cheeky youth had a point – they were a little bland. The following day I was more liberal with the paprika and black treacle and the leftovers did taste more authentic. But, for the time and effort devoted to make them, I think the ungrateful boy is just going to have to wait until things return to normal.

Continue reading “Home-Made (smoky bacon) Baked Beans”

Halloumi and Smoky Bacon Hash


Halloumi and smoky bacon hash

I’m somewhat reluctant to try recipes that require the use of small quantities of several ingredients because I end up procrastinating over what to do with half a pepper, or two-thirds of a bag of spinach in this case. However, I decided to try Halloumi and Smoky Bacon Hash from Pinch of Nom, as due to COVID-19, I’m doing bigger online grocery shops because I don’t want to physically enter a store.

As a consequence, I had the majority of items in to make this, and I’m glad I did. It’s a versatile dish – I had it for lunch, but you could enjoy it for breakfast or brunch. I can’t get enough of halloumi, bacon and mushrooms, and the rest of the ingredients made for a really enjoyable meal topped with a fried egg!

If, like me, you’re wondering what to do with leftover produce – use the halloumi and pepper in Warm Griddled Vegetables, the bacon and mushrooms can go towards Tagliatelle Carbonara, while the spinach, cherry tomatoes and eggs can be used to rustle up Spinach, Tomato and Feta Scrambled Eggs. And hey presto, no food wastage! Continue reading “Halloumi and Smoky Bacon Hash”

Pan-fried bacon with poached egg and balsamic tomatoes


Poached egg balsamic tomaoes

There are many things I’m willing to give up when dieting – booze (ouch), chocolate (ok, if I must), crisps (fine, just fine), sweets (oh for f***s sake!), but bacon and eggs isn’t one of them. Pan-fried bacon with poached egg and balsamic tomatoes from the Hairy Dieters is a world away from a traditional British fry-up, but at only 264 calories per serving it’s a pretty good substitute!

I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, but drizzling balsamic vinegar over them makes them much more edible, in my opinion. As for adding watercress (as the Hairy Dieters suggest) as an accompaniment, no, that just seems like a bridge too far. Continue reading “Pan-fried bacon with poached egg and balsamic tomatoes”

Hash Brown Breakfast Bake – ‘so boring yet so amazing’


Breakfast bake

I have Pinch of Nom to thank for coming up with this brilliant brunch dish which is so easy and cheap to make for only 189 calories per serving! Hash Brown Breakfast Bake includes potatoes, beans and bacon in one-pan, which is sure to be a big hit with the kids, even if this isn’t conventional ‘hash browns’ from McDonalds. The addition of the onion and garlic granules make this really tasty – my only slight faux pas was that I should have baked it for a little longer to make the potatoes on top go golden and crispier.

My teenage son Will,  normally loathed to try anything other than a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast, absolutely loved this. “Dad, can we have this again please? The ingredients are so boring yet it tastes so amazing”. Thanks Will, I think!

Actually, I’ve done the boy a disservice. He also loves Breakfast Omelette Burritos from the Hairy Dieters, but that recipe requires eggs which are harder to come by right now. So it’s fair to assume that he’ll be tucking into Hash Brown Breakfast Bake more often in the coming weeks. Continue reading “Hash Brown Breakfast Bake – ‘so boring yet so amazing’”

Asparagus, Broad Bean and Bacon Salad


Asparagus, bacon and broad beans

We’re coming into British asparagus season (typically 23rd April to 21st June),  so why not take advantage by making Asparagus, Broad Bean and Bacon Salad from the dieters’ phenomenon that is Pinch of Nom. You can rustle this up quickly, or you can spend a few minutes ‘de-podding’ the broad beans to make it look prettier and taste even nicer (which I didn’t have time to do on this occasion).

Asparagus and bacon go well together, making this low calorie salad ideal for spring or summer lunchtimes. If you’re looking for more asparagus inspired recipes, check out Pasta with Summer Vegetables and Parma Ham from the Hairy Dieters. Continue reading “Asparagus, Broad Bean and Bacon Salad”

Scrambled egg with bacon and mushrooms – healthy English ‘fry-up’


scrambled eggs and bacon

Given the current difficulties in sourcing ingredients, my blogs for the foreseeable future will be less imaginative, or feature mushrooms because that’s the only produce I can get my hands on in decent quantities! Scrambled egg with bacon and mushrooms from the Hairy Dieters won’t win any prizes for originality, but as a healthier, toned down version of an English ‘fry-up’ this meal is a great weekend breakfast treat. Best of all, you can have it ready in under 10 minutes at a cost of less than a quid per portion.

Traditional fry-ups can typically exceed 1,000 calories, whereas this recipe comes in at a more modest 337 and it fills you up too. Reducing the (rather generous) quantity of butter to make the scrambled egg will further cut the calories. Continue reading “Scrambled egg with bacon and mushrooms – healthy English ‘fry-up’”

Pasta with clams and bacon


Clams

I’ve never been a huge fan of Italian food. I can take or leave pizza and I’ve never understood how some restaurants justify charging upwards of £15 for a bowl of pasta. It’s ironic then that going on a healthy eating plan has enabled me to fall in love with simple, tasty Italian pasta dishes that are quick and economical to cook.

Pasta with clams and bacon from the third instalment of the Hairy Dieters series has become one of my favourites. The photo above might not scream ‘eat me now!’, but don’t let that put you off, the flavour combinations in this recipe are divine and I’d urge you to try it.

Disclaimer: my local supermarkets aren’t posh enough to stock clams so I substituted them for cockles which worked a treat. Clams, cockles or even mussels – see what works for you. But whatever you use, don’t forget to save 50ml of the liquor when draining them as adding this back into the pan makes this sumptuous dish even more yummy.

Can’t get enough of healthy pasta dishes? Check out Pollo Pasta with Pesto, Smashed Up Chicken, Pasta Puttanesca and Tagliatelle Carbonara. Continue reading “Pasta with clams and bacon”

Breakfast Omelette Burritos – burriliant!


Breakfast burrito

I haven’t got round to sampling many dishes from the Hairy Dieters’ most recent book, Make it Easy, but Breakfast Omelette Burritos caught my eye and has become a regular which my son Will absolutely loves.

At 447 calories per serving you might be better off having this as an occasional treat, or perhaps as a weekend brunch dish. Mustard with sausages and bacon? Well, why the hell not, it will certainly give your morning a bit of a kick!

As the instructions below outline, patience is definitely a virtue so do cook the egg very slowly otherwise your wrap will disintegrate when you come to lift it out of the pan. I’ve just about got the knack down to a tee now – perhaps I’ve made this too often? Continue reading “Breakfast Omelette Burritos – burriliant!”

Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges


chicken tarragon

Mmmmmmmmm. There’s not much more to say about Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges – it’s just soooooo good! The dish appears in the Hairy Dieters’ Good Eating book and the recipe was sent in by one of their readers, Amy Huyler, who is the brains behind this sumptuous meal. Take a bow, Amy!

In Amy’s own words, “a tasty, tempting pot of creamy deliciousness with all the yum factor of a Great British chicken pie, but none of the calories of puff pastry or double cream”. I couldn’t put it any better myself so I’m not going to try, except for saying give the rosemary potato wedges a go as they also taste fantastic accompanied with some tenderstem broccoli, perhaps.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters might recall that this recipe is similar to chicken and ham tangle pie which appears in their inaugural diet book (How to Love Food and Lose Weight), but crucially (I don’t know why I said ‘crucially’) takes a little longer to make and is slightly higher in calories due to the addition of the filo pastry topping. But that’s another cracking dish which I’ll try and feature on this blog at some point in the future. Continue reading “Creamy chicken and tarragon pots with rosemary potato wedges”

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


file-33

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!”

Braised peas with lettuce and bacon


Braised peas

Braised peas with lettuce and bacon from Justine Pattison is one of my fall-back lunches when I’m pushed for time, bereft of inspiration and running low on ingredients. The combination of the smoked bacon, chicken stock, gem lettuce and peas is surprisingly tasty and can be knocked up in 10 minutes.

On its own, this recipe is only 239 calories per serving and Justine suggests you can serve it with some thin slices of French bread or ciabatta or some plain grilled chicken. I don’t think it needs it but it’s up to you. Continue reading “Braised peas with lettuce and bacon”

Tagliatelle Carbonara – Italian classic for under 300 cals!


Tagliatelle carbonara

Without boring you with the details, I’m currently living with my Mum and don’t have the patience or inclination to devote time to prepping fresh food. Thank goodness then for the Hairy Dieters’ Tagliatelle Carbonara, a filling, tasty and calorie friendly twist on an Italian classic dish when can be prepped and on the table inside 20 minutes. My Mum loves it too -bonus!

75g of pasta might not seem like much between two people, but trust me, the mushrooms, courgettes and tomatoes really help to bulk the meal out and the addition of the crème fraiche gives the meal that authentic, creamy taste for less than 300 calories per portion!

Incidentally, the Hairy Dieters have some excellent pasta dishes like this one tucked away towards the back of their second book. Check them out, and I’ll try to feature some of them on my blog in due course. Continue reading “Tagliatelle Carbonara – Italian classic for under 300 cals!”