Home Alone Cooking 7: 5:2 noodles

I used to be very good at following the 5:2 way of eating, but have got out of the habit lately. However, the mental attitude of KNOWING that I can get through a day on less than 500 calories makes it pretty easy.  I tend to base low-cal meals around fish and veg, and whilst they are not to everyone’s taste, I don’t mind these konjac slim noodles, which are around 10 cals for a whole packet.

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I had the rest of my smoked salmon to finish, and there was still plenty of veg in the drawer, include these cute mini-peppers.

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I rinsed and dry fried the noodles, and set them to one side,

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while I sauteed the veggies in lemon juice and tamari, with a splash of water.  To be honest, I didn’t cook them for long enough, as they were still very crunchy in the finished dish.

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I stirred the noodles back in, and added the smoked salmon in shreds, as well as more lemon juice. I get through a lot of lemons!

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Result – a big satisfying bowl for around 150 calories.

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Home Alone Cooking 6: Black Beans

Sunday.  I decided to take Max for a good long run before it got too hot.  As it turned out, we were 1km into our run when the heavens opened and it poured.  So I was in need of something tasty on my return.

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The TV had been showing footage of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations and patron’s lunch, part of which was a picnic hamper packed with foodie goodies sourced from all over the UK.

I was inspired by their smoked salmon starter, and decided to make my own version, using the half price organic cold smoked stuff I’d bought in Dobbies yesterday.

2 small slices, chopped finely with a knife and fork (use the back of the fork to mush it a bit more)

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Add a good heaped teaspoon of Skyr, or other thick natural yoghurt.

Squeeze in half a lemon, and add some fresh black pepper.

Arrange attractively, using red peppers out of a jar, capers, and tortilla chips.

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For dinner, it was back to Ella, and what she claimed was the Best Sweet Potato.

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One of the issues I’d had with Click-and-collect-ing is that you can’t choose the size of your veg.  I’d been hoping for some chunky sweet potatoes suitable for baking, but instead my bag contained long thin ones, more suited to making wedges.  So that’s what I did.

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The filling was half a can of black beans, sauteed with mushrooms.  The recipe said 7 mushrooms, or 150 g.  I’m glad it added the grams, as my mushrooms, having been unable to select myself (see above) were on the large side, and in fact 3 of them took me to 150g.

To the pan, I added a teaspoon of jarred chillies. and 3 chopped cloves of garlic.  The recipe said to saute these in “lots of olive oil”. Lots?  How much is lots?  Is that 3 tablespoons or half a bottle?  Actually, I find you don’t need much oil when cooking mushrooms, as they release their own liquid.

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A dressing was also required – 2 teaspoons tahini, the juice of a lime (size unspecified), a teaspoon of honey, and pepper and salt.

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I missed when reading the ingredients that there was an avocado as well, so my version omitted it.

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It was a very edible meal.  But just too….earthy.  There was no contrast or light and shade in the flavours.  The sweet potato is earthy, the beans are earthy, mushrooms are earthy, the tahini dressing is…yes you’ve guessed it, earthy.  Even the lime juice wasn’t enough to lift it. And a cookery book that claims to be “no sugar” but merrily adds honey to recipes is failing my nutritional awareness hurdles.



Creamy salmon pasta

The original recipe for this dish comes in at about 400 calories, so I tweaked it by swapping half the pasta for courgette ribbons. Still, 40g spaghetti is a pitifully small amount for 130 calories, and wasn’t really worth it. Next time I’ll use all courgette, or the slim pasta.

I made a sauce by stirring 2 generous tablespoons of Tesco’s healthy living creme fraiche (80 cals) into a scraping of leftover light Philadelphia with cucumber (20 cals). I added the zest and juice of half a lemon, and plenty of black pepper.

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I made courgette ribbons by running a cheese slicer down the length, and then slicing the resulting strips down the middle. One courgette at 150g is 30 cals. I put them to boil with 40g spaghetti.

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Once the pasta was soft enough, I drained it, and stirred in 60g smoked salmon trimmings (130 cals), and then my cream sauce.  I topped the lot with a blob of caviar/ lumpfish roe (10 cals)

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The end result was rather decadent.  I’d definitely do the sauce again! 400 cals, 25g protein, 40g carbs.