5:2 Diet - One Pot Southern-Style Rice

This flavourful rice dish comes from a little book by Hamlyn called Quick Cook Low Fat.

It is one of a series of dinky little books. I have a set of them and have to admit I turn to them quite often for ideas.

QuickCook Low Fat

They are simple little cookbooks, each on a different theme, but all with the same layout. Each book is cut down into categories and each recipe has a two pages. Photo on one side and recipe on the other. That sounds like most cookbooks, I hear you say. Aha, but it's not. Each recipe has 3 variations. One that can be cooked in 30 minutes, one that can be cooked in 20 minutes and one that can be cooked in 10 minutes. Nifty!

On the page for this rice dish, which can be cooked in 30 minutes, there was also a 20 minute Southern-Style Mixed Vegetable and Bean Stir-Fry and a 10 minute Five Mixed-Bean and Rice Salad.

My rice dish took a bit longer than 30 minutes to cook, but I was cooking another dish at the same time, so that could be the culprit. Even though it did take longer than the promised timescale, I was still very impressed with it. Graham loved it (it's vegan) and Cooper ate a good few spoonfuls, which is almost miraculous in these suspicious times of toddlerdom.

Now, the recipe says this serves 4, but come on! Look at my large Le Creuset casserole pot, it is just about full. I would say 6 servings, if not more, but for the purpose of calorie counting I am going for the 6 servings.

232 calories per serving

Just perfect for my 5:2 Diet.

Oh and I nearly forgot the exciting part! (How sad am I?) They have a website called Hamlyn Quick Cook Recipes.

I know, I know, another website. But this one is smart. Type in the code at the bottom of the recipe page and you can download the recipe to print out or request it by email and they will send you a copy, which is handy to have on your phone as you tootle around the supermarket. Cool huh?

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One Pot Southern-Style Rice
A quick and spicy rice dish. Tomatoes, peppers and courgette are complimented by a range of herbs and spices. Low fat and low calorie. Great if you are following the fast diet.
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, dried oregano, hot smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 250 g basmati rice, rinsed under running cold water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and red and yellow peppers and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the courgette and cook for a further 3–4 minutes.2. Add the herbs, spices and rice and stir-fry for 1 minute, coating the rice well in the other ingredients. Stir in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.3. Bring to the boil and cover with a tight fitting lid, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 15–18 minutes until the rice is cooked and the mixture thickened.
Total time:
Yield: Serves 6
Calories: 232 per serving

Recipe Tweaks

A quick note about the recipe. I used olive oil instead of the stated vegetable oil and I used double the amount of paprika, in fact I might have been even more heavy handed than the ½ teaspoon I stated. Start at half and you can always add more. I also added some water near the end, to stop it from sticking to the pan.

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet book

A wee note about the 5:2 diet. Michael Mosley has a new book out called The Fast Diet and there is a website working alongside the book, also called The Fast Diet, where you can learn more about this diet as well as some recipe ideas. You can read a review of the book over at London Unattached and Matching Food and Wine.


Disclosure: I received a copy of Quick Cook Low Fat to review. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. I bought my own copy of The Fast Diet.

Nectarine and Apricot Sherbet

It's smoothie time!

This one is a bit special, a real corker in fact.

Nectarines, clementines, soft dried apricot, fizzy white schloer and an extra boost courtesy of some baobab powder. A lush smoothie, so full of flavour, finishing with a sherbet-like taste.

As if all the fruit isn't enough, I do like to give my smoothies an extra slug of nutrients. Sometimes I add spinach, usually I add some powdered quinoa and recently I have started to add some baobab powder.


This superfruit from the African Baobab tree contains six times more vitamin C than oranges, twice as many antioxidants than goji berries, six times more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach and red meat!

Minvita Baobab Superfruit Powder , is a pale, fine powder that can be added to home baking, cereals, juice, yoghurt and smoothies.

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Nectarine and Apricot Sherbet
A fruity smoothie with a sherbet finish.
  • 2 nectarines
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 handful soft dried apricot pieces
  • 150ml white grape shloer (fizzy grape juice, non-alcoholic)
  • 1 tsp baobab powder
1. Take the stone out of the nectarines and slice.2. Peel the clementines and divide into quarters.3. I have a powerful vitamix blender, but if you don't, you may want to soak the apricots, unless they are the really soft ones, in a little apple or orange juice before you add them to your blender.4. Add all the ingredients to your blender and whizz. You may add ice if you like.5. Enjoy. Slurp!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 3-4 

I am submitting my Nectarine and Apricot Sherbet Smoothie to this month's Tea Time Treats

Tea Time Treats is hosted alternately by Karen over at Lavender and Lovage and Kate over at What Kate Baked. Karen is hosting this month and the topic this month is citrus. 

I do hope they accept my entry. Entries are usually cakes and jams, but I think this smoothie would go down a treat at tea time with a scone spread generously with butter and jam.

Disclosure: Minvita sent me some Baobab Powder to try and I was sent a vitamix to review.. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

5:2 Diet - Minestrone Soup

5:2 Diet - Minestrone Soup

I had a break from my 5:2 diet over Christmas and New Year. There were too many meals out with friends, too many drinks and nibbles, too many mince pies and that isn't even taking account of all the goodies on Christmas day.

5:2 Diet

5:2 Diet

I was back at work on the 7th of January and right back into my routine.

I always do my first 5:2 fast (under 500 calories) of the week on a Monday and then the second day varies. It's always on a work day. I have a schedule on a work day, so it is much easier.

5:2 Diet - Minestrone Soup

5:2 Diet - Minestrone Soup

I made this minestrone last week as I knew my parents were going to be around for dinner and my dad loves minestrone soup. He is a bit of a minestrone aficionado. He always orders it in a restaurant, if it's on the menu. Mind you he isn't as fond of the green pesto style minestrone.

This is the first time I've made minestrone. I thought it was slurpilicious. So rich and tasty with lovely big chunks of vegetables, as well as the beans and pasta.

The response from my family was varied. Cooper was just getting over a bug and wasn't up to eating, so he just sat with us and had a drink. My dad said "it's really good and I'm enjoying it, but there's too much tomato for me". Graham came to the conclusion he doesn't like pasta in soup, so he would prefer it without the pasta next time and my mum, well she loved it. As the saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time!

Low Calorie Soup

For me this is a winner. Tasty and filling, just perfect for a fast day and low in calories too. My recipe made a huge potful, which would serve between 8 and 10 people a generous bowlful. I've based my calories on 8 huge portions.

198 calories per serving

Which pasta for minestrone?

I used Polish Lubella pasta threads in my soup which is like a thin, broken spaghetti, but you can use whichever pasta you prefer, or if you are cooking it for Graham, don't add any. *sigh*

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Minestrone (198 calories)

A rich and tasty, low calorie soup perfect for those who are watching their weight, but want a filling and satisfying meal.
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes (zucchini), chopped
  • 8 medium carrots, chopped
  • 100g spinach, chopped
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans
  • 150g lubella strand pasta (or other)
  • 5 pints/10 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • a good grinding of salt & freshly ground pepper
  • a generous handful fresh parsley, chopped
1. Saute the onion in garlic in the rapeseed oil until soft and translucent. Then add the celery, courgette and carrots and cook gently for a few minutes.2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, spinach and vegetable stock. Mix well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and leave it to simmer gently for 15 minutes.3. Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes. Season and add the fresh herbs.4. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: 8-10 servings


Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Broccoli

I made cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce as part of our meal one night, but there was loads left over. Usually Graham would tuck into it too, with vigour, but now he is vegan cheese sauce is off the menu. I have tried a veganised version, but he didn't think much of it.

 Instead of just serving it up the next night again, I decided to turn it into a delicious, creamy soup. Cooper and I really enjoyed it, so I will be doing this again.

I scaled up the recipe to a full pot of soup, but if like me you have leftover broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce, then just add some stock, seasoning and herbs.

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Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Broccoli

January 13, 2013

A great way of turning leftover cauliflower sauce into a tasty soup.
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 40g butter
  • 45g plain flour
  • 650ml/2 ¾ cups hot milk
  • 100g extra mature cheddar
  • 25g grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a good grinding of salt & black pepper
  • 1 ½ litres /6 1⁄3 cups vegetable stock, more if you feel it needs it
  • 1 tsp cayene pepper
  • a handful of fresh chives, chopped finely
1. Steam your cauliflower and broccoli until tender.2. Make your cheese sauce. First infuse the hot milk with the garlic and bay leaves. Leave for 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat, then add the flour and cook out for five minutes, stirring regularly.3. Pour the infused milk mixture (strain it first to get rid of the garlic etc), little by little, into the flour and butter mix (roux), stirring all the time, with the heat on low, so it will not burn on the bottom of the pan.4. Then add the pepper and bring to a slow simmer for five minutes at a slow temperature, stirring constantly, before you add the cheese.5. Whizz the vegetables, cheese sauce and stock in a blender, then season and pour into a large soup pot to gently heat. At this point you can check the seasoning and decide if the soup needs to be thinned a little with some more stock. Add the cayenne pepper and stir though.6. Serve with a scattering of chopped chives.
Total time:
Yield: Serves 6-8

I am submitting my soup to this month's edition of No Croutons Required which is hosted this month by my best buddy Lisa over at Lisa's Kitchen.

The topic this month is leftovers.

If you would like to join in, then add your soup or salad to the linky by the 20th of January 2013.

Spicy Tattie Puffs

Simple sausage roll type snack with a spicy mashed potato and pea filling.

Spicy Tattie Puffs (veggie sausage rolls)

Don't they look good? I can assure you they are.

Scotty Brand sent me some of their Kestral potatoes before Christmas and I have used them for a lot of different dishes, but nothing new or exciting until I invented these spicy tattie puffs.

Just in case you didn't know, tattie is the word for potato in Scots.

How to roll as sausage roll

How to roll a sausage roll in pastry

They are super easy to make. Mashed potatoes, spicy curry paste, frozen peas and puff pastry. That's all there is to them, but they are really good.

Roll out a long rectangle of puff pastry, then place your filling down one side, leaving a border. Wet the edges of the pastry with a little water and wrap the pastry over the filling, crimp the edge and cut into the required lengths.

Remember to slice air holes into the top to let the steam out so the pastry doesn't go soggy.

You can brush the sausage roll with beaten egg, milk, soya milk or even olive oil. They will all help with that golden finsh.

Portable comfort food

These are portable comfort food. I kid you not!

Eat them hot or cold, as part of a meal or just as a snack. They are very frugal too, if you are watching the pennies.

Spicy Tattie Puffs

How to store potatoes

Now to the potatoes. I was sent the potatoes on the 12th of December and a month later they are still in good condition.

How did I manage that? I hear you ask?

Well I took them out of their bags immediately and transferred them to a thick pillowcase and stored them in my conservatory, which can be quite cold in the winter, unless I put the heaters on at full blast.

Spicy Tattie Puffs. A vegetarian alternative to sausage rolls. So, so good and easy to make.

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Spicy Tattie & Pea Puffs

Spicy Tattie Puffs

Simple sausage roll type snack with a spicy mashed potato and pea filling.
  • 6 medium kestral potatoes, boiled and mashed with a little butter or dairy free spread
  • 1 heaped tsp spicy curry paste (I used Patak's Balti Paste)
  • ½ cup frozen peas (you may add more)
  • 500g block puff pastry
  • a sprinkling of flour, to roll pastry
  • 1 egg, whisked or soya milk for glaze
1. Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6.2. In a bowl, mix together the mashed potato with the curry paste until the colour is even.3. Mix in the frozen peas.4. Dust your counter top with flour and roll out the puff pastry. At this point, you can either: - cut two long rectangles, put the filling down one side, fold the other side over, sealing with a little water, so you have a long sausage, then cut into little rectangles. - cut individual squares, add filling fold over and seal to make sausage roll shapes.5. Place on a baking tray.6. Cut slits in the top of each pastry (air vents), then brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.notes: for a vegan version, mash the potato with vegan marg and do not glaze before putting in the oven. They are just as good, they just don't have that shiny finish.
Total time:
Yield: 8 large puffs (sausage roll size)


for Sunday Dinner

Mushroom, Lentil & Nut Wellington

Mushroom, Lentil & Nut Wellington

A rich mushroom, lentil and nut wellington in golden, crisp puff pastry. The most luxurious pie to serve up as a vegetarian and vegan main course with roast potatoes, vegetables and onion gravy for Sunday dinner, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Also try my amazingly good (I know I am saying that about my own recipe, but trust me, your taste buds will thank you) butternut, red pepper and potato puff pastry plait.

Disclosure: Scotty Brand sent me potatoes to try. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

5:2 Diet - Swamp Juice = 115 calories

It's the start of a new year, the holiday is over and it is time to start looking after ourselves. 

I am back on my 5:2 diet tomorrow, so what better way to start things off than with a smoothie that is rammed full of nutrients and only 115 calories per glass.

Here is a wee list of the goodies this green swamp smoothie boasts.

  • low in saturated fat
  • very low in cholesterol
  • good source of niacin and zinc
  • very good source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese
  • very low in cholesterol
  • very low in sodium
  • good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C,  vitamin K and folate
  • low in saturated fat and sodium
  • very low in cholesterol
  • good source of niacin, phosphorus and zinc
  • very good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese
Fresh Apple Juice:
  •  very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium
  • very good source of vitamin C

What's more it tastes delicious. I could happily drink this every morning. It also got the thumbs up from Cooper. Later on I added some milk and yoghurt to the leftover smoothie and he enjoyed it this way too.

Of course I whizzed it up in my wonderful and unsurpassed Vitamix. Unfortuately, the lid plug wasn't in the lid and I decorated the cupboard doors before I realised. Luckily I didn't lose too much smoothie.

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Swamp Juice
A luxurious creamy green smoothie that packs a nutritional punch.
  • 30g baby spinach
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 400ml fresh apple juice
1. Rinse the spinach and mint leaves and pat dry in a clean tea towel.2. Remove the skin and stone from the avocado. 3. Whizz up all the ingredients until smooth. You may add ice cubes if you prefer your smoothie ice cold.4. Serve and enjoy.5. Feel smug!
Total time:
Yield: 4 glasses


Spinach = 8 calories
Avocado = 288 calories
Mint leaves = 4 calories
Apple Juice = 160 calories

Total = 460 calories
Per glass = 115 calories

I am submitting my swamp juice into New "U" 2013, a new blog event focusing on health. I am slso submitting it to Herbs on Saturday, hosted this month by Bangers and Mash.

Disclosure: Vitamix sent me a blender to review. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Pasta Please


We all love it.

It's perfect when:
  • we want to share a meal with friends
  • we need a quick after work meal
  • we want to use up vegetables
  • we want to be frugal
  • we need some comfort food

After the sad demise of the long running food challenge Presto Pasta Nights hosted by the lovely Ruth, I felt there was something missing. I didn't join in every month, but I loved having a look through all the recipes in the roundups for inspiration. So here we are with a new food blog challenge called Pasta Please.

Each month there will be a linky where you can your dish.

I will be looking for guest hosts to help me run the challenge as I also have Bookmarked Recipes and No Croutons Required to look after.

Here are the rules:

Pasta Please

To join in, simply post a pasta dish on your blog by the 28th of the month and:
  • Link to the current host.
  • Link to Tinned Tomatoes.
  • Use the Pasta Please logo in your post
  • If you use twitter, tweet your post with @tinnedtoms and #PastaPlease and I will re-tweet it to my followers. 
  • Follow the current theme when creating your recipe
  • When I am host, all entries must be suitable for vegetarians.
  • Other hosts will accept all pasta dishes, unless they specify only vegetarian/ vegan etc
  • One entry per blog.
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.
  • A list of hosts and current events can be found here.
  • If you would like to host Pasta Please, email me at tinnedtomatoes@googlemail.com.

The January 2013 theme is cheese.
All dishes must be suitable for vegetarians.

I look forward to some really tasty pasta dishes. Add them to the linky below.
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