It can be a struggle trying to decide what to eat on fast days. I think meal times are about more than just the food, they are social events and as such I try to make them as inclusive as possible. As I have posted before I like my food nicely presented too. So fasting day dinner has to be filling, tasty, look great on the plate, look like a “proper” meal and be family friendly too. Is that too much to ask? lol
It may not be but it can be hard trying to find the balance. So here are a couple of my favourite 300 calorie (ish) meals. I’ll add a few more of these later in the week
Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas
Yes that’s right. Fish is very low in fat and you get a lot in terms of weight for your calories. I go for cod loin which is more expensive than fillets but there are no bones, skin or waste. 100g per person is plenty. I simply heat a non-stick frying pan, spray the fish with frylight and fry on each side for a couple of minutes. That’s it. Keep movement to a minumum so that the fish does not break up and it’s fine. No need for additonal oil, batter, breadcrumbs etc.
The chips I cook in my trusty actifry but you can par boil chips and spray with frylight and then bake.
The mushy peas I make myself as I am a Yorkshire girl and they are known as Yorkshire Caviar 😉 plus the tinned ones just do not taste the same. I will be making a fresh batch this week and may very well blog the results
So there you have it
Actifry chips – 175g (144 cals)
Cod loin – 100g (98 cals)
Mushy Peas – 50g (43 cals)Frylight – 2 sprays (2 cals)
Total – 287 calories
Chicken and Chips
Once again the actifry is called into service but with the addition of some seasoning in to make the fries more exciting. I use garlic granules and paprika, I also add a bought cajun s
pice mix to the chicken. The chicken is butterflied to make it as thin as possible and then griddled with frylight for a couple of minutes. This meal is one I serve with my current obsession of asparagus with Parma ham. I take 4 spears, trim the fat from the Parma ham and wrap around the asparagus. These are then dry fried with the chicken or roasted in a hot oven for 10 mins until the ham is crisp and the asparagus tender
Actifry chips – 175g (144 cals)
Skinless chicken breast – 100g (106 cals)
Asparagus – 4 spears (13 cals)
Parma Ham – 1 27g slice (33 cals)
Frylight – 2 sprays (2 cals)
Spices – approx (5 cals)
Total 303 Calories
The spices may not be exact but the value for the Parma ham is just for the slice not for the trimmed slice so I am sure it more than balances out.
Continuing with the soup theme the fair Sam now delights us with sweet or dessert soups, the first installment deals with fruity variations.
Many dessert soups highlight sweet fruits such as strawberries, bananas, citrus, raspberries, honeydew, or watermelon. Dessert soups can also showcase chocolate, caramel, or sweet creams.
Soup as a dessert can be served hot, with melting chocolate or warm raspberry puree that oozes onto your spoon and warms your mouth delightfully. Alternately, most melon and citrus based dessert soups are served chilled and provide a wonderfully light, aromatic note to end the meal.
Dessert wines such as Port or Shiraz can add complexity in flavour, and nuts such as candied almonds, pecans, or chopped hazelnuts add to the realm of possibilities. Cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and star anise are but a few spices that can be used in your recipe. Portions are typically kept small, since soup for dessert is rich in flavour and sweetness. Try garnishing your bowl of dessert soup with sprigs of fresh mint, a drizzle of white chocolate, or a fresh berry. A small piece of shortbread or a thin, crisp biscuit served on the side is a perfect companion for dessert soups and provide a complimentary texture. Surprise your loved ones with soup for dessert and show them how sweet you really are.
Cold dessert soups made from fruits and berries are delicious and refreshing in the summer heat. They are easy to make and handy to have in the fridge on a hot sunny day for a snack or dessert. You could also fill up a thermos if you so wished to take outside. A refreshing treat after a swim, a trip to the beach or even to finish off a barbeque.
Soup of Raspberries and White Peaches
- 350ml sweet white wine (the better the quality the better the finished product)
- 250ml red wine
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 2 large punnets raspberries
- 1 large sprig fresh mint
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 whole ripe peaches, poached, skinned and cut into eighths
- Crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream, to serve (optional)
Bring the wines, sugar and vanilla to the boil. Put the raspberries into a bowl. When the wines have come to the boil, add the mint and pour over the raspberries. Taste for sweetness and add lemon juice if necessary.
Add the peach segments to the raspberries and chill until ice-cold. Remove the vanilla pod.
Serve in bowls as it is, or with a dollop of crème fraiche or a ball of vanilla ice-cream.
This is not as you would imagine from its colour, a sweet strawberry milkshake-like drink for children, but instead a not over-sweet soup with added wine for sophistication that should be eaten outside on a summer night when the underage contingent has gone to bed
- 1tsp grated orange rind
- 3tsps caster sugar
- 275ml Riesling
- 450g Strawberries, cut into fine slivers from top to tail
- 150ml vanilla yoghurt
Infuse the orange rind, sugar and Riesling for 1 hour. Strain through a fine sieve. Put into a bowl with the strawberries and marinate for 2 hours. Remove and reserve the strawberries and stir the wine into the yoghurt to the required dilution and potency! Return the strawberries to the mixture and serve.
Barolo Blackberry Soup
Can be eaten hot or cold. If you plan to eat this blissful, deep purple combination of fruit and red wine hot with ice-cream though I suggest Haagen-Daz vanilla because it is the hardest and melts more slowly.
- 700g blackberries
- 5 tbsp Sugar
- 450ml Barolo wine (or any other full bodied red wine)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 strips of orange zest
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for 8 minutes. Serve warm or chilled with vanilla ice-cream.
One way to cut costs and calories is to switch to non-alchoholic drinks. This is all very well if you are the sort of person that can drink endless cups of tea and coffee. For most of us however having a glass of something nice in the evenings helps us to relax and if we are off the booze for whatever reason we still want a glass of something nice.
This is when things become rather tricky. You can drink coke or other such things but they don’t feel “special” it’s a drink not a glass of something nice. So you have a look at the “special” section and realise that everything there is wildly expensive and full of sugar. Yes Schloer I am looking at you with your tempting array of flavours, posh looking bottles, high calorie count and hefty price tag.
That is why I was so please to stumble upon Aldi Fruit Crushes. These are really lovely, really cheap and really low in calories. My mission is complete. They come in three flavours and I shall now extol the virtues of each
First is Mexican Lime. It is suitably sour, a glorious colour and a meagre 2 calories per 100ml. On its own with ice and a slice it is refreshing and does not get too sickly. It also can be mixed with tequila and triple sec to make a long version of a margarita that is divine.
Second we have Elderflower and Pear, the name alone should suggest just how lovely it is and it is lovely. Once again not too sweet and with a delicious perfumed taste that is very grown up. This has 3 calories per 100ml so once again very low. Serve with ice and a slice of cucumber. If you are not avoiding the booze add a measure of gin for a perfect summer drink.
Finally we have Morello Cherry. The most calorific but still with only a teeny tiny 4 calories per 100ml. This has a sour, almost sherberty and a deep crimson colour. Just lovely, so refreshing and moreish. If using as a mixer it is wonderful with vodka and plenty of crushed ice.
All three cost just 49p for a litre bottle which makes them an absolute bargain in my book. OK they may not have lovely glass bottles but I can live with that 😉
Or rhubarb anything really but the Rhubarb G&T is a speciality of the fabulous Bob Bob Ricard and it’s that that I am trying to recreate. I could have tried to make rhubarb gin in the way that you make sloe gin but I think that rhubarb really needs heat to give off it’s fabulous colour and flavour. I looked into heating the gin but figured that it was a faff, im danger of causing some of the alchohol to evaporate and finally would mean that if it did not work I would have wasted gin! The humanity *fans self*
So I decided that a rhubarb syrup was the way forward. Especially when the rhubarb is in the reduced section. It really is simple to make.
You trim the ends off the rhubarb discarding any brown bits and then wash. Chop up into smallish pieces, you want as much surface area as possible. Pop into a pan, add 500ml of granulated sugar and about the same of water and then bring to the boil. Simmer until the rhubarb is mush and then leave to cool. The syrup will be hot. Very hot.
Once cool enough to handle safely you strain through a sieve and muslin if you have some (kitchen towel will do if you don’t) add a ladle full at a time and leave to drain. If you push then you will get some pulp in there and you want a lovely clear syrup.
Once strained it can be bottled and kept in the fridge for a good 3-4 months.
It really is the most amazing colour, the bottles look amazing and would it make a fantastic gift.
I made two 500 ml bottles and the total cost for the rhubarb and sugar was around £2.
Now for the cocktail, make a G&T as usual and add a dash of the syrup to taste. For the full BBR experience you should shake it in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and pour this gives the distinctive slightly frothy head but the taste remains much the shame. I’m quite sure that they do things differently at BBR but this is my version and it is lovely.
An added bonus is that you do not need expensive branded gin to make this, anything will do which means that the cost of the syrup is more than offset by the savings 🙂