Carrot, sweet potato and coriander soup


carrot and coriander soup

Having struggled to get a supermarket delivery due to the current COVID-19 challenges, I was very grateful to receive a mixed vegetable box from a local farm shop. Within it was a whopping 2kg of carrots and I was determined not to waste a single one of them. Step forward, Carrot, Coriander and Sweet Potato Soup from Justine Pattison.

One pan of this made 6 portions for only 108 calories per serving. It tasted lovely and is so cheap to make – perfect for our budgetary constraints right now. I bet you’re desperate to know what I used the remaining carrots for? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. Pan Haggerty Lite, Lean Lamb Hot Pot, a lighter Spaghetti Bolognese by the Hairy Dieters and Prawn Pasta Salad. Continue reading “Carrot, sweet potato and coriander soup”

Tortilla chilli pie


Tortilla chilli pie

Justine Pattison’s Tortilla Chilli Pie is a quirky adaption on a traditional chilli con carne recipe . The addition of the tortilla chips was enough to whet the appetite of my picky teenage son and the jalapenos went down well with my wife who is a real heat freak. Result! :-).

Opt for a side salad rather than rice to keep the calorie count down, don a sombrero, and you’ll think you’re in Mexico (possibly). Continue reading “Tortilla chilli pie”

Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!


Penang chicken

Several healthy eating cookbooks contain ‘fakeaway’ chapters – reduced-fat recipes of our favourite takeaways – but none better than Justine Pattison who has dedicated an entire book to them. Penang chicken and sweet potato curry is a sumptuous Thai fakeaway that I’d be delighted to have served to me in a restaurant. The beauty of this is that you can enjoy restaurant quality food for just over 400 calories providing you follow the simple cooking method to the letter.

The sweet potatoes mean that you don’t need to add extra calories by having rice or bread, and the accompaniment of the stir-fried broccoli with chilli and garlic adds some extra zing and class for only 48 calories more. This is a really special dish to cook on a weekend ‘date night’. So crack open some vino, tuck into this and get ‘love is in the air’ blasting out by John Paul Young and you’ll be sorted :-).

If you love this, why not try another of Justine’s fakeaway crackerjacks – Ginger Chicken with Udon Noodles. Continue reading “Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!”

Crushed Berry Layered Yoghurt – perfect on a ‘5:2’ day


berry yoghurt

If you’re following a ‘5:2’ diet plan, you’ll know how difficult it can be to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner within a limit of 600 calories on a ‘2’ day. So what are your options? Skip breakfast and struggle through until lunchtime, invariably reaching for the snack jar around 11am, or try and get something light and healthy inside you first-thing?

A piece of fruit is always an option but if, like me, you love yoghurts why not combine both options by having Crushed Berry Layered Yoghurt from Justine Pattison? You can pick up cheap bags of frozen mixed fruit from supermarkets which are great to have on stand-by for busy mornings and it means you’re not wasting any fresh produce either – just take out what you need. Of course, you could just buy some ready-made yoghurts, but some can be higher in sugar and calories than you think so I prefer to make my own.

I like to use ramekins for these fruit-topped yoghurts and keep them in the fridge, where they’ll last for 3 days. If you’re a fan of this simplistic health-kick, check out Justine’s Without the Calories – Quick and Easy book where you’ll also find a recipe for Cherry and Chocolate Chip Muesli. Continue reading “Crushed Berry Layered Yoghurt – perfect on a ‘5:2’ day”

Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted


Pollo chicken

If I’m going to cheat on my diet then I’m most susceptible on a Friday night when I’m tired after work and can’t be arsed cooking. Pollo pasta with pesto from Justine Pattison is a great fallback option when I’m on the verge of calling Just Eat, can be on the table within half an hour and tastes fantastic. Even better, it costs just over a quid per serving to make!

Calories wise this recipe is quite high at 498, but you’ll save a few if you omit the single cream and remember this is still much better than scoffing a takeaway. I’ve always got chicken, mushrooms, pesto, pasta and sundried tomatoes to hand so this meal has become one of my favourite ‘store cupboard saviours’. Continue reading “Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted”

Baked sea bass with peppers and pine nuts


Sea bass

With the exception of salmon I hadn’t experimented with cooking fish before. But when my local Co-op started stocking sea bass which was frequently on reduced due to seemingly no one in my local town knowing what to do with it, I decided to broaden my horizons. I just needed to find the perfect, diet-friendly recipe and Justine Pattison’s baked sea bass with peppers and pine nuts has become a big hit in my household.

You can pay good money to eat sea bass in a restaurant but this brilliant dish from Justine can be rustled up for less than £2 per serving and under 300 calories. Genius! Please note, the recommended serving size is 150g per sea bass fillet. You’ll be able to get that from a fishmonger. However, if buying from a supermarket most packs of sea bass have a weight of 180g, so you can get away with having two bass fillets without feeling guilty!

My mediocre photography and presentation skills fail to do this recipe justice. If you’re looking to introduce more fish into your diet then give this a try. You’ll love it. Continue reading “Baked sea bass with peppers and pine nuts”

Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw


Sticky pork steaks

Healthy-eating guru Justine Pattison is a genius at coming up with quick, tasty meals that are low in calories. Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw essentially involves the pork being coated with a barbecue glaze cleverly created by combining the ketchup, honey and Worcestershire sauce.

Fans of the Hairy Dieters (who Justine worked as a consultant on their early dieting books) will note that this recipe is very similar to the Hairy one’s Sticky chicken and coleslaw which you’ll find in their second book – Eat for Life. And if you’re really eagle-eyed, you’ll note that I decided to go with the Hairy Dieters’ home-made coleslaw recipe (white cabbage, carrot, spring onions, light mayo and natural yoghurt) instead of Justine’s as I’m not a fan of celeriac.

The pork steaks with the coleslaw is filling, but if you fancy a few home-made chips to go with it (it will add 119 calories) you can find the recipe in Justine’s Without the Calories – Comfort Food book. Continue reading “Sticky pork steaks with coleslaw”

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”

Ginger chicken with udon noodles – Wagamama on a diet!!


Ginger chicken with udon noodles

The Hairy Dieters’ might get all the adulation for their healthy eating recipes but Justine Pattison is an absolute legend and I’d urge you to buy her Without the Calories series of books. Ginger chicken with udon noodles is from Justine’s ‘Takeaway Favourites’ book and OMG this recipe is absolutely amazing – try it, try it, try it!

This is a great Friday night dish to produce as it can be ready in about 20 minutes and is very quick to cook once you have prepped all the ingredients. The only fiddly bit is trimming the fat off the chicken thighs, but this is a doddle if you’ve got a good pair of kitchen scissors.

So tuck in, close your eyes and imagine you’re in Wagamama! And better still, this belter of a ‘fakeaway’ dish is only 475 calories! Who says you can’t enjoy top-notch food on a diet? Continue reading “Ginger chicken with udon noodles – Wagamama on a diet!!”

Chorizo with butter beans – just 88p per portion


Chorizo

Chorizo with butter beans is a simple dish that can be knocked together from store cupboard staples to make an ideal lunch or a main meal with a few new potatoes. You’ll find this recipe in Justine Pattison’s Without the Calories series of books, which I thoroughly recommend you get your mits on as they’re just as good as the Hairy Dieters’ ones.

Beans are a dieter’s best friend, so it’s worth stocking up on various varieties such as baked, kidney, butter, cannelloni, black eye and black beans as they’re handy to have around, keep for a long time and are cheap to buy. This recipe comes in at a budget-friendly 88p per portion. The serving size (for two people) isn’t massive, but rather than be tempted to help yourself to seconds why not accompany it with a green salad and a healthy dressing for a filling lunch?

This dish is great for using up spare ingredients lurking in your fridge (I’ve always got onions and chorizo left over) and you’ll have a half a tin of chopped tomatoes kicking around if you’ve made Menemen (Turkish Eggs) in the morning. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, TRY MENEMEN! Continue reading “Chorizo with butter beans – just 88p per portion”