800 and under but still tasty

The Fast 800 Easy author Dr Clare Bailey. PHOTOS: SMITH & GILMOUR
The Fast 800 Easy author Dr Clare Bailey. PHOTOS: SMITH & GILMOUR
If your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are starting to waiver, the latest cookbook based on Dr Michael Mosely’s Fast 800 diet might help inspire you.

The Fast 800 Easy is written by his wife Dr Clare Bailey, a general practitioner, and cookery writer Justine Pattison, and follows on from their first book based on the Fast 800 diet.

THE BOOK: The Fast 800 Easy, by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison. Published by Simon &...
THE BOOK: The Fast 800 Easy, by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison. Published by Simon & Schuster Australia, RRP $35

Mosely’s book, The Fast 800, has been the best-selling diet book in New Zealand since its publication in 2019.

It advocates keeping your calories under 800 a day by eating a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet for two to 12 weeks, then moving to an intermittent fasting phase, the 5:2, before moving on to a maintenance phase.

Bailey’s latest book was developed during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic. Aware that everyone was stuck at home with their box-sets and snacks, she set out to create a "super-simple" cookbook to make it as easy as possible for people to eat healthily and lose weight.

"I threw myself into working out what moderately low-calorie, low-carb Mediterranean-style meals I could produce for our household of five from our existing stores."

She posted the recipes on Instagram and ended up being followed by thousands of people who wanted to lose their lockdown weight gains.

While there are occasions when there is no substitute to cooking with fresh ingredients, particularly when they are in season, she believes people get too hung up on using "fresh".

"Tinned, bottled and frozen foods are often not only cheaper but also just as tasty and, contrary to popular misconceptions, highly nutritious."

Many of the principal ingredients of a Mediterranean diet - oily fish, nuts, olive oil, beans, lentils and wholegrains - can be freezer or store-cupboard staples.

Her recipes are designed to be added to or bolstered with more carbohydrates for family members not trying to lose weight.

"That way you can sit down and eat together, and avoid cooking lots of different meals."

Avocado, crispy bacon and white bean salad 

Simple and delicious and your microbiome will love it. On a non-fast day, use a whole avocado and twice the amount of pine nuts, or top with parmesan shavings and serve with a slice of wholegrain sourdough bread.
 

Serves 2

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 rashers smoked back bacon (around 75g), thinly sliced

2 Tbsp pine nuts

2 Little Gem lettuces, trimmed and leaves separated

½ 400g can cannellini or haricot beans,

drained and rinsed (123g drained weight)

½ small avocado, peeled, stoned and

sliced (around 60g prepared weight)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small non-stick frying pan, add the bacon and pine nuts and fry over a low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the bacon is lightly browned and beginning to crisp, stirring regularly.

2. Meanwhile, tear the lettuce leaves into pieces and divide between two shallow bowls. Scatter the beans, avocado and tomatoes on top. Season with a little ground black pepper.

3. Remove the frying pan from the heat, stir in the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Allow to bubble for a few seconds then spoon over the salad to serve.

Per serving 467 cals | Protein 16g

Carbs 16g | Fat 35.5g | Fibre 10g

 

Lemon chicken 

A luscious, tangy stir-fry that makes two generous portions for very few calories. We tend to avoid cornflour in our recipes, but here it helps create a lovely glossy sauce to coat the chicken and vegetables. On a non-fast day, you could serve this with a few tablespoons of wholegrain rice.

Serves 2

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp dark soy sauce

finely grated zest and juice ½ small lemon

2 tsp coconut or canola oil

1 skinless chicken breast fillet

(around 150g), cut into 1.5cm slices

1 capsicum, any colour, deseeded and sliced

1 medium carrot (around 80g), trimmed and thinly sliced

100g broccoli, cut into small florets

150ml chicken stock (made with ½ stock cube)

4 spring onions, trimmed and thickly sliced

Method

1. Mix the cornflour with the soy sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat, add the chicken, capsicum, carrot and broccoli and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is lightly browned and the vegetables are beginning to soften.

3. Pour the lemon and soy mixture into the pan, add the chicken stock and spring onions and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through, stirring regularly.

4. Sprinkle with grated lemon zest and serve with cauli-rice (see below).

Cook’s tip: The dish can be made with firm tofu or prawns instead of chicken. Simply fry tofu with the vegetables in step two, or add prawns for the last couple of minutes of the cooking time.

Per serving 187 cals | Protein 21.5g

Carbs 12g | Fat 5g | Fibre 5.5g

Cauli rice 

Serves 1

½ small cauliflower (around 200g)

Method

1. Hold the cauliflower by the stalk and coarsely grate in short, sharp movements. You can also do this in a food processor, but don’t let the pieces get too small or they will turn to a paste.

2. Either stir-fry with 1 teaspoon olive oil (27 cals) in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over medium-high setting for 4-5 minutes, or steam in a saucepan over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.

You could also microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. The "rice" should retain a bit of bite, like al-dente pasta.

3. Stir in some chopped parsley or coriander, or squeeze over some fresh lemon juice for added flavour.

Per serving 68 cals | Protein 5g

Low carb sausage lasagne 

This easy low-carb lasagne was created during a Zoom session when we had to come up with a dish using specific ingredients. These included sausages, tinned tomatoes and spinach. We skipped the starchy lasagne sheets and used layers of zucchini instead.

Serves 6

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

6 good-quality sausages (around 400g total weight)

2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 400g can chopped tomatoes

250g young spinach leaves

2 medium zucchinis, trimmed and sliced lengthways into strips 3-4mm thick

good pinch ground nutmeg

200g full-fat creme fraiche

40g parmesan, finely grated

Method

1. Heat the oven to 200degC or fan 180degC.

2. Place a shallow, flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and into the pan in small chunks. Add the onions and fry together, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and the sausages are lightly browned. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for a few seconds. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until thick.

3. Place the spinach in a colander in the sink and pour just-boiled water over the top until it softens. Otherwise, you can soften it in the microwave. Leave to stand until cool enough to handle, then squeeze the leaves to remove as much water as possible.

4. Remove the casserole from the heat and season well. Place the zucchini slices over the sausage mixture, then top with the spinach leaves.

5. Stir the nutmeg into the creme fraiche and spread over the spinach — you don’t need to be too neat. Sprinkle with the parmesan and season with more ground black pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until starting to brown.

6. Remove from the oven and serve with a large green salad.

Cook’s tip: Avoid cooking this dish for any longer than stated, as the zucchinis will release more liquid as they bake.

Per serving 379 cals | Protein 16g

Carbs 10g | Fat 30g | Fibre 3g

 

 

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