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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?

print recipe

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.
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