Take one tray of prawns…

I don’t usually like fasting when I’m at home – far too many temptations around.  But circumstances this week made it unavoidable, and in retrospect it was much easier than I’d imagined.  Largely down to a reduced 300g pack of cooked prawns I found for 75p in the supermarket, which I proceeded to turn into lunch and dinner.


Prawns are a faster’s friend – at only 65 calories per 100g it is possible to have a very satisfying meal within the 500 daily allowance.

For lunch, I took a good handful of rocket leaves, some chopped cherry tomatoes, 100g of the prawns, and a tub of grapefruit segments in juice (there are 40 cals per pot, and another of my fast day saviours). I garnished the lot with some slivers of sushi ginger, and the whole plateful comes in about 150 calories.  The taste combinations are superb – prawn and tomato are a tried and tested marriage, but the addition of the peppery rocket and the juicy bittersweet grapefruit, with a zing from the ginger, was a very refreshing and flavourful meal.


I noticed that my tomatoes were past their best, so for dinner I simmered them with a chopped stick of celery in a splash of red wine, and added a squeeze each of sun dried tomato puree, basil paste and umami. And a blob of minced garlic.

Image I sieved the resulting pulp to make a good flavoured sauce, although it was on the runny side.  I added the rest of my prawns to this, and served with zero-noodles, for a total meal of about 200 cals.  Next time I’d add some veg – sliced mushrooms, or diced courgette maybe.


5and2: Celeriac Mash

With the weather being so cold outside, I really fancied some comfort food in a sausage-and-mash style. Quorn based bangers are lower in calorie and pack a good protein punch, so I picked up a pack of Cauldron Cumberland Sausages from Sainsburys (75 cals apiece).

To go with them, I wanted to use up the half a celeriac that’s been lurking in the fridge ever since I tried emulating the sweet potato and celeriac soup we enjoyed on New Years Eve.

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For one person, I peeld and chopped a quarter of the celeriac – about 160g and 70 cals. I simmered it for about 25 minutes till soft, having added a squirt of marmite to the water for extra flavour. I drained and then mashed with a tablespoonful of light creme fraiche (25 cals), and a few chopped spring onions.

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I made a gravy by cooking some shitake mushrooms in some water that I’d soaked a sprinkle of porcini in. 1-2 mins in the microwave, for 25 cals.

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It looked very appetising on the plate, was a very substantial meal for under 300 cals.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this – I’ve certainly heard it discussed on MyFitnessPal and 5:2 groups before now. I guess I’m not that big a fan of pizza – it’s OK, I’ll eat it, but I wouldn’t be distraught if I lived in a world without pizza.

But the rest of the household fancied making pizza from scratch at the weekend, and I reckoned it would be a good opportunity to try this base, since we’d be preparing the same toppings.

2014-01-18 15.45.06 I nearly fell at the first hurdle – no fresh cauliflower in the supermarket!  But undaunted I got some frozen stuff instead.  I cooked 200g in the microwave until soft. I then blitzed that with an egg, some half-fat mozarella, some grated parmesan, a handful of basil leaves, and seasoned with spicy Sicilian salt, black pepper, and garlic granules.

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Formed that into a round shape, and baked in the oven for 10 minutes until firm.2014-01-18 18.30.10

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Topped with pizza sauce, sliced mushrooms, green pepper, artichoke hearts, olives and anchovies and some more half-fat mozarella.

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The result was absolutely delicous, and I’ll definitely be trying this again.  There’s obviously endless variations of toppings which could be used – cheese and salami will push the calorie count up, but the base is around 200-250 calories.

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5and2: courgettes and chorizo

Well, I’ve been 5and2ing for a whole year now, and it’s become a fairly easy habitual way of eating. But I’ve got lazy about sharing my recipes, so as there are lots of new adherents out there in Tinternetland (Hi mom!), my new year’s resolution is to share more fast day ideas.

Newpapers and magazines are full of January diet zeal, and amonsgt the unrealistic promises and hype, there are some good recipe ideas.  Here’s one I adapted from such a source.


Approx calories in brackets.

1 medium courgette (20), 20g chorizo (100), 6-10 cherry tomatoes (30), 1 tbsp tomato puree (10), garlic, flat leaf parsley. Total about 160 cals.

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Using a vegetable peeler, take a long strip off the courgette, and discard that bit.  Turn it over so that it now sits on a flat base, and peel a strip off the other side – discard.  Peel the rest of the courgette into thin ribbons.  I used a cheese parer, but a potato peeler would do, or else just use a sharp knife.

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Cut the chorizo into thin discs. Put them in a heated frying pan with no extra oil, and let them crisp.

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Remove the choirzo and set aside. To the oil it has released, add garlic (one crushed clove, I used a tsp of ready minced stuff from a jar), and a  tablespon of tomato puree – I used some fancy sun-dried tomato puree, but any would do.

Add the courgette and stir them over a medium heat until soft.

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Add the cherry tomatoes, halved.  At this point I remembered I don’t like tomato skins, but the end result wasn’t too annoying.  Life is too short to skin cherry toms, but if I were doing this with larger ones I might take the skins off.  A couple of tinned tomatoes would work also.

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Pile into a bowl, top with the chorizo crisps, and a spinkle of flat leaf parsley.  I always add parsley to garlicky dishes.  This one turned out very garlicky, so I might leave it out altogether next time.

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Scallop brochettes

Scallop brochettes

Little queen scallops wrapped in prosciutto, served over wilted spinach. Skewers seasoned with lemon pepper, some Sicilian salt and lemon juice on the spinach. Total calories 155.

5 and 2: zumba and trout

I was delighted this week to get in touch again with my zumba class – thanks to the magic power of Facebook. Since finishing the half-marathon last month I’ve been running less, so I’ve been looking for different ways to keep active.  I love anything even vaguely dance-related, and it’s hard to do zumba without a smile on your face.

My Monday fast this week went well, and I’d found a tub of Tom-Yum soup in the freezer which I used for my evening meal.

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I still have to battle my sweet tooth, but I’ve found these cereal bars are nicely chewy for only 75 calories and a few grams of sugar.  The Tesco caramel one is my favourite.

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Wednesday was a non-fast day, and the supermarket were selling 2 trout fillets for £4.  I had one wrapped in foil with a few sliced mushrooms and some Greek basil.  And the other for my Thursday fast meal – I cooked it in a bowl with a plate over the top in the microwave – I added a few slices of lemon and a splash of white wine.  I served it with some asparagus spears, also done in the microwave, and a sort of tartare sauce made with fromage frais, capers and finely chopped pickled onions.  It was absolutely delicious!  I’m glad I’ve been reminded about trout – half the calories of salmon, much less fat, and the same amount of protein.

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All in all, a good week!

5and2: summer meals

Like many others on this way of eating, the warm summer weather has been great for encouraging the eating of salads. and getting out in the fresh air for some exercise. Having had some disruption due to holidays and the like, I got back into the swing of 2 fast days this week – and couldn’t quite believe how easy they felt!

I’ve got into the habit now of pushing through the fast morning on just black coffees, Bovril and flavoured teas.  On Tuesday I had a miso soup for lunch – I really enjoy these, just the right level of savoury saltiness, and quite satisfying.  For dinner, I made a microwave omelette with one egg, 2 egg whites, some sliced mushrooms and leftover roast chicken pieces.  I served it on a bed of salad leaves and a dollop of hot sauce.  Actually, the hot sauce wasn’t necessary…

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On Thursday I had an unavoidable lunch date with a friend (she was lending me a costume for a fancy dress party on Friday night).  We met at IKEA, where I chose the gravad lax, but didn’t eat the dressing, and added some simple side salad items – tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, pickles.  It’s nice not to feel restricted, and be able to find SOMETHING to eat while being a lady-who-lunches.  Dinner was a simple salad plate – pastrami, mushrooms and cucumber, with some roast red peppers from a jar.  I followed this with a couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese mixed with 10 raspberries – very tasty indeed!

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I made myself a cooling drink of water infused with cucumber, Greek basil and lime, and swanned around in a maxi dress pretending I looked sophisticated 😉

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I had no headaches, no insurmountable hunger pangs – I do still feel quite tired on fast day evenings, but I sleep really well, which is a blessing in this heat.