“Murgh Moog” – Indian Takeaway Style Curry Sauce (166kcal per portion)

The husband of a friend of mine is a chef at an Indian restaurant and some years ago we did a recipe exchange – I showed him how to make my awesome chocolate fudge cake so he could serve it for dessert in the restaurant and he taught me how to make my favourite dish from his menu.

Using the basis of his recipe it’s possible to make all sorts of tasty restaurant style curries, although you may need to buy in some store cupboard ingredients to start off, these will last you for many a delicious curry! This is one I make for feed days and after adding up the calories I realised it could also be a Fast Day dinner! The whole family will love this one and the recipe serves 4 people. The below mild to medium curry recipe is a favourite among us and our friends and has been given the name Murgh Moog, murgh being ‘chicken’ (we usually serve this with chicken) and Moog being me ūüôā

The recipe involves preparing two bases for the curry and then the cooking stage.

 

Ingredients for Onion Gravy Base

  • 250g white onions (100kcal)
  • Water
  • Good pinch of salt

 

Onion Gravy Curry Base (this one has some curry powder in it)
Onion Gravy Curry Base (this one has some curry powder in it)

 

Method for Onion Gravy Base

  1. You’ll probably want to prep this ahead of time as it takes a while – but is well worth it!
  2. Roughly chop the onions (I tend to chop them in half, then each half into quarters) and put them in a saucepan.
  3. Cover the onions with boiling water and add the good pinch of salt.
  4. Optional: If having this on a non fast day, or if you’ve got enough calories to spare, you might like to add a little splash of oil to this mixture or a teaspoon of curry powder. It’s not essential though and the recipe works well without.
  5. Put a lid on the pan and heat gently for around 30-45 minutes until the onions are well softened and there’s not lots of water left (remember to check on them regularly, you don’t want them to dry out).
  6. Remove the mix from the heat, remove the lid & allow to cool.
  7. When the mixture is cool, use a blender to blitz the mix to a fairly thick, oniony mush.

 

Ingredients for Curry Sauce Base

  • 200g naturual yogurt* (140kcal)
  • 1tbsp mint sauce (13kcal)¬† – yes, I do¬†mean like the jars of mint sauce you use with a lamb roast!
  • 1tbsp (35g) tandoori paste (32kcal)
  • 1tbsp (35g) tikka paste (42kcal)
  • Half tbsp kashmiri masala paste (42kcal)
  • 15g garlic (22kcal)
  • 15g ginger root (12kcal)

 

Curry Sauce Base
Curry Sauce Base

Method for Curry Sauce Base

  1. Measure the natural yogurt into a bowl and add the various sauces and pastes, stirring well.
  2. In a pestle & mortar, grind the garlic and ginger into a paste.
  3. If you do not have fresh garlic and/or ginger you can substitute with a couple of teaspoons granules/powdered forms of each instead.
  4. Mix around two thirds of the garlic & ginger paste into the yogurt spice base.
  5. Leave this mix to stand a little while as the flavours will start to infuse in the yogurt.

*I always recommend using full fat yogurt as the fat is what helps bring out the curry flavour. If you prefer to use low fat please make sure it’s not one with added sugar and other nasties. There are low fat yogurts out there with no additives which are much better for you! A greek yogurt may give you a thicker creamier curry whereas a tangy natural yogurt will give an added zing to the flavour. Experiment and see what you like best!

 

Right, now your onion gravy is prepared, your curry sauce base has stood for a little while and now you’re ready to start cooking!

 

Ingredients for Curry Cooking Stage

  • 50g white onions (20kcal)
  • 1tbsp oil (120kcal)
  • 1tbsp ground mixed spice
  • 1tbsp granulated sugar (45kcal)
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (77kcal)
  • Fenugreek leaves Chopped coriander [cilantro] – leaves & stalks

 

Method for Curry Cooking Stage

Chop the onion to whatever size/shape you prefer the pieces to be in your curry. I like mine quite chunky!

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion and ground mixed spice, stirring well.
  2. Next add the tin of chopped tomatoes and continue to fry this as it absorbs the spices.
  3. Add the remaining garlic/ginger mix you prepared when making the curry sauce base.
  4. Add the onion gravy base and stir well. Add the curry sauce base and stir well.
  5. Add the sugar and fenugreek leaves and stir well.
  6. Continue to cook the sauce gently until it reaches your preferred consistency, adding the chopped coriander right at the end.

2013-10-04 18.46.50 2013-10-04 18.47.34 2013-10-04 18.48.50 2013-10-04 19.13.54

 

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Tikka or Tandoori Chicken cooked on skewers adds a real takeaway feel to this dish!

Now you’ll want to add any meat or vegetables you may have prepared to complete the dish. For a fast day I will measure out the portions of sauce first and then add the meat. I normally use chicken, prepared in the oven on skewers, around 100g of chicken (a small breast) per person should be enough. I slice the breast down the middle lengthways, mix all the chunky¬†strips of meat with a little tikka paste or tandoori paste and then put them on skewers in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. You can leave out the paste on a fast day, it’s not essential, although it doesn’t add many calories when spread around all the portions of chicken. On removing the chicken from the skewers I chop each sliver into 3-4 pieces so it looks like the meat from a curry house – it’s got the colouration on the outside, the right shape and even the hole in the middle!

So, we’ve got around 166kcal of sauce with 114kcal of chicken for a total of 280kcal. That leaves you with 220kcal for a side dish – you might want to have some kind of rice (boil with a little turmeric & cinnamon, maybe add some peas!) for that authentic Indian meal, some Indian style cauliflower rice for a low calorie low carb alternative or maybe you just want to mix in lots of tasty veg (spinach is great!) or whip up some simple saag aloo by boiling a calorie counted portion of potatoes in turmeric and gently frying off with some spinach. I’ve got an awesome bombay aloo recipe but it’s not really fast day friendly. I’ll see if I can adapt it one of these days!

Once you’ve got the basics of making a curry in these three stages it’s easy to mix and match your ingredients to make experimental curries – a little more of this, a little less of that, maybe try using a different flavoured oil or putting some chilli powder in with the onion gravy when you cook it. The possibilities are endless and mostly fall within the same sort of calorie range.

 

5:2 Diet Lasagne Recipe (300kcal per serving)

Yes, another carb-tastic meal, but at this time of year as the weather gets colder there’s nothing more comforting. I still believe 5:2 has to be sustainable in the long term and that means not totally removing entire food groups from your diet! Carbs on a fast day may not be the best idea but it won’t kill you and this is a meal you can share with your family & friends.

I used to make this with Quorn mince, but have now realised that what with adding so much oil and beef stock to make the mince edible, I might as well be using real beef mince! I’ve also taken to using a cheddar cheese sauce in the lasagne to add a good cheese flavour without the need to put excessive cheese on top, or so everyone I’ve made it for seems to¬†agree.

Ingredients

  • 400g extra lean beef mince (500kcal)
  • 8 lasagne sheets (600kcal)
  • 500g jar Bolognese sauce (220kcal)
  • Colman’s cheddar cheese sauce (310kcal when made up with 300ml semi skimmed milk)
  • 10g crushed garlic (10kcal)
  • 100g chopped onion (40kcal)
  • 100g mushrooms (15kcal)
  • 80g baby plum tomatoes, halved or quartered (15kcal)
  • 2tbsp tomato puree (30kcal)
  • 15g finely grated mature cheddar cheese [or 20g grated¬†mozzarella] (60kcal)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Mixed Italian herbs
  • Fresh basil

Total: 1800kcal for 6 servings (300kcal per serving)

 

Method5:2 dinners_lasagne &_salad

  1. In a saucepan, gently cook the beef mince until it starts to release some fat (not that there’s much in the extra lean variety).
  2. At this point, throw in the onion and garlic and allow this to cook in the fat while the beef continues to brown.
  3. When the beef has browned make a ‘well’ in the middle of the saucepan and add the baby plum tomatoes so they can cook in some of the fat.
  4. Once the tomatoes have had a couple of minutes to soften, add the chopped mushrooms, some Italian seasoning, the tomato puree and stir to coat the meat in the tomatoey goodness!
  5. Now the beef is coated in the tomato & herb mix add the bay leaves and the jar of sauce, allowing the mix to reduce down.
  6. Towards the end of cooking add the fresh basil to taste and season if desired.
  7. Make up the packet of cheddar cheese sauce according to the instructions. I tend to add an extra 50ml or so of water to make it go further for no extra calories.
  8. In a square ceramic dish, place two sheets of lasagne side by side to cover the bottom. Add about a third of the Bolognese mixture (don’t forget to remove the bay leaves!) and a layer of the cheese sauce. Now use three sheets of lasagne to begin the next layer, adding Bolognese and cheese sauce above. Repeat the above and top with the grated cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of mixed herbs.
  9. Bake in the oven at around 200 degrees for half an hour.

The lasagne is usually best prepared in advance so it has time to solidify a little, making it easier to cut & serve (re-heat in microwave).

Measure into 6 equal slices for a real fasting day treat!

I serve this with either a large side salad or some home made potato wedges (180g potato for around 135kcal) & peas (80g for 60kcal). You could add a side of garlic bread to bulk this meal out for the family.

If you’re planning to have salad with this and can afford some extra calories in the lasagne, I’d suggest adding an extra 100g of the beef mince, more mushrooms and a couple of extra tablespoons of tomato puree.

Enjoy!

 

160kcal Ratatouille with Potato Wedges & Sausages (total 500kcal)

Well folks, it’s been a while since I blogged and for that I’m really sorry. I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve tended to avoid anything computery in the evenings! Time to get this blog going again now eh?

Here’s one of the dinners I’ve been enjoying on my Fast days over the last month. It’s a simple recipe which¬†I batch cook it and freeze in portions. The recipe is based on one from the Good Housekeeping cookbook, but adjusted a bit to lower the calories and bulk it out.

Ratatouille

  • 60ml olive oil (492kcal)
  • 240g white onion (96kcal)
  • 10g crushed garlic (14kcal)
  • 250g aubergine (63kcal)
  • 370g courgette¬†[zucchini]¬†(63kcal)
  • 290g mixed peppers (60kcal)
  • 400g tinned tomatoes (148kcal)
  • 2tbsp tomato puree (30kcal)
  • 2tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp chopped basil
  • 1tsp thyme

Method

Chop the aubergine, courgette and peppers into chunks (I like to vary mine in shape and size!). Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion & garlic gently for a few minutes. Add the aubergine, courgette & peppers and fry for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, puree and add some salt & pepper. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for around 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid add the herbs and allow the sauce to reduce as desired.

I find the above makes 6 good portions of 160kcal each.

At such a low calorie count there are plenty of possibilities for sides with this dish! My preference is for Tesco meat-free sausages in the Mediterranean flavour, they are just 174kcal a pair if shallow fried, so I like to think they’re a little less when brushed with a tiny amount of olive oil and cooked in the oven! So, that’s about 330 calories, now what else to have with it? You could have cous cous, 170kcal will get you a rather large portion of it! Or you could have…

 

Garlic & Herb Potato Wedges

  • 5g from a packet of Garlic & Herb Wedges Seasoning¬†or you could make your own with breadcrumbs & garlic powder (15kcal)
  • 160g baby potatoes (135kcal)
  • A few drops of olive oil (20kcal)

These are also a quick and easy (but tasty & filling) side dish. I know, I know, carbs aren’t a great idea for a fasting day – but this way of life has to be sustainable in the long term & I like my carbs. I don’t have them every fast though. Just chop the baby potatoes into quarters to make your wedges, brush with¬†a tiny amount of olive oil and toss in the 5g of seasoning (believe me 5g is plenty, it goes further than you’d think). Put on a pre-heated baking tray in the oven at around 180¬į for 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of your wedges. I usually cook my sausages alongside them to save on washing up ūüėČ

So there you go, 160kcal ratatouille, 170kcal sausages and 170kcal of potato wedges making yet another yummy 500kcal fasting day dinner, which doesn’t feel at all like diet food – enjoy!

Wish I was having this tonight now, but I’ve run out. Fasting day Fry-up for me again tonight, with extra beans!

Fast Day Fry-Up (under 450kcal)

There’s nothing I love more than a filling, tasty Fast Day dinner which is quick & easy to make and doesn’t feel like diet food. After debating another nice summery salad tonight I’ve decided to go for this yummy fasting fry-up instead.

It couldn’t be easier!

1 Warburtons Sandwich Thin, toasted (100kcal)

A few sprays of Frylite (3kcal) or a few drops of oil brushed around the pan if, like me, you’d prefer it to taste right and aren’t too strict on your calories, +/-10% is fine with me!

2  medium eggs (160kcal)

3 slices lean pork loin ham (56kcal) I use Tescos sweetcure pork loin, delicious!

80g baby plum/cherry tomatoes (24kcal)

110g baked beans (100kcal)

I fry the eggs in minimal oil and when they’re almost done I chuck in the sliced ham to make it more ‘bacon-y’ and the little tomatoes to warm & soften them. Microwave the portion of beans for about 60-90 seconds¬†when the eggs are almost ready and get the sandwich thins in the toaster at the same time.

Quick. Easy. Yummy. Filling. It may not be fancy, but all that protein will stay with you for longer.

…and calories to spare – so you can add¬†2 more pieces of ham,¬†200-300g (raw weight) white¬†mushrooms (yuck! not for me!), another 60g of beans or swap a piece of ham plus those extra calories for a nice grilled or oven baked quorn sausage.

5:2 Summer Treats for in the Heat!

Just a quick blog today I’m afraid, got the in-laws coming over for dinner tonight and need to get prepping soon.

I’ve had a number of messages in recent weeks from folks struggling a bit with their fast days over the summer holidays – with their kids at home and enjoying all those delicious summer treats. Your fasting days should not be days you feel you have to suffer! You too can enjoy treats on your summer fast days if you plan ahead a little.

So, without further ado, some low calorie ideas for lovely summer treats you can enjoy with (or without!) the kids while you’re doing the 5:2 diet.

 

Homemade Ice Lollies

Quick to make, but they’ll take a while in the freezer, you can make fruity ice lollies from squash for just a few calories. If you find them too weak try using watered down juice instead for a bit more flavour (but watch the calories). Certainly less calories and far less cost involved than in your typical ice cream van’s lollies. Try adding some fresh berries for a bit of extra natural sweetness.

 

Hartley’s Sugar Free Fruit Jelly Pots

Now, I’m not into diet foods or ‘light’ products, but these are a great little treat to keep in the fridge. At less than 10 calories a pot you can enjoy a few of these on your fasting days for a fruity, filling treat. The kids’ll love them too! Or, you can mix up your own jelly from their jelly blocks and add in fresh berries (most which are generally pretty low cal, around 25-30 calories for 100g, with the exception of blueberries, 70 cal per 100g) or low calorie fruits such as mandarin segments (34kcal per 100g) to make it even more enjoyable.

 

Mixed Berry Fruit Salad with (or without!) Yogurt/Meringue

Nothing screams “Summer” moreso than a delicious fruit salad. Opting for plenty of low calorie fruits & berries you can have a nice big bowl full for minimal calories and really get that summer feeling. Top with a spoon or two of your favourite yogurt for a real treat, or crumble¬†half of a meringue nest on top for a mere 26 calories! You should be able to have a good serving for around 100 calories.

 

Sorbet / Frozen Yogurt Cones

Ditch that high-calorie ice-cream and try a bit of sorbet in the summer! It’s refreshing and tangy and a scoop comes in at on average around 90kcal. Put it on a proper ice cream cone for another 20 calories and feel like you’re having an ice-cream with the kids for less than half the calories! There are also a lot of frozen yogurt ranges available now or ice-cream yogurt mixes, a scoop of which could come in at as little as 40-70 calories and would be fabulous mounted atop a 20 calorie ice cream cone.

 

Angel Delight Lollies – home made “Mini Milks”

This is one I’ve yet to try but am now really keen to – even for a feed day! Angel delight can indeed be frozen and enjoyed as low calorie alternative to ice cream. The sugar free varieties come in at around 1kcal per gram (with a normal made-up Angel delight serving size being around 90g) so weigh up the amount you’re putting in your lolly moulds and keep them small & sweet! If you’re using a fruity Angel Delight why not try making it with fruit juice instead of semi-skimmed milk and add in some fresh chopped strawberries to lower the calories and add more goodness. How about chocolate Angel Delight made up with orange juice for that Terry’s Chocolate Orange taste? I’m going to give this a go when I get the shopping in at the weekend!

 

Well, I hope some of these ideas help you through your summer holiday fasts with the kids ūüôā Do bear in mind that sugary fruits & treats may make you feel more hungry (but sometimes it’s worth it!).

Don’t forget if you’re careful with your calories you can finish the day off with a delicious fasting burger & salad for dinner – though you’ll need to leave out the cheese and reduce the dressing or salad size to account for the tasty snacks above! Well worth it for enjoying some summer feeling treats with your family.

 

 

 

5:2 Fasting Diet Burger & Salad

For the last 10 months or so I’ve been saving all my fasting day calories for a nice big dinner of up to 500 calories. As you can imagine, you can have some pretty nice, big meals for 500kcal and this is one¬†I had last week and has been put on the menu again this week! It tastes like real summer BBQ food but lower cal, so filling and good enough to eat on a feed day too! Yes, I did that a few days later, but added a few homemade potato wedges as hubby dearest wanted some.

Fasting dinners don’t have to be complicated or time consuming to prepare. They don’t have to look like restaurant food to be tasty, filling and most importantly nutritious.

Fasting day burger for 5:2 diet
Tasty fasting day burger for 5:2 dieters

I found a pack of reduced Warburton’s Sandwich Thins at my local Co-op and decided they might come in handy for my fasting days at just 100kcal per sandwich thin. They’re available in white or brown, but my local shop only had white. Since having a burger in a sandwich thin I’ve decided they work much better than a typical burger bap or bun, not only in terms of calories but also to reduce bloating and allow you to enjoy the meat more. I for one will make sure these are always in my cupboard from now on!

 

Anyway, this is what the meal consisted of:

Fasting Day Burger (355kcal)

1 Warburtons Sandwich Thin (100kcal)

1 Grilled Tesco Tomato & Herb Beef Burger (205kcal)

10g Cheddar Cheese (approx. 40kcal)

10g Burger Relish (approx. 10kcal)

The cheese was delicious with the tomato¬†in the burger¬†(I probably didn’t even need the relish it was so tasty), I melted it on under the grill after giving the burger a good squeeze to reduce the fat. The sandwich thin was all the nicer for going under the grill for a short spell too, a slightly crispy burger bun, yum!

Of course with such a small amount of bread this wasn’t going to be very filling, hence…

 

Giant Low Calorie Fasting Day Salad  (139kcal)

I like a nice salad dressing, and with the basic vegetables being so low calorie I don’t see the harm in making them even tastier with a nice rich dressing! I also like to throw in a bit of extra protein to help fill me up. Oh, and also because¬†I love ham ūüôā

100g iceburg lettuce (15kcal)

100g cucumber (12kcal)

80g baby plum tomatoes (16kcal)

1.5tbsp Tesco garlic & herb salad dressing (57kcal)

3 slices Tesco Lean Sweetcure Pork Loin (39kcal)

Salt & pepper