Getting back to real life and a 5-2 fast day diet freak-out:
It seems like a long time since I actually cooked anything myself. Of course, that’s not entirely the case but in the week before the trip to Abruzzo, I was frantically busy and when I did eat at home it was almost always something very simple. And, I returned to a hard-core diary of events that I’d postponed until my return. So this weekend is the first time I’ve had to myself for a while and Friday was the first potential 5-2 diet fast for some 10 days.
I did panic a bit.
As anyone who is a regular visitor to London-Unattached will realise I have a hedonistic love of food. But even I felt a little over-fed in Abruzzo, where we visited nine vineyards in two and a half days. Each one provided palate cleansers in the form of plates of meats, cheeses, bread with oil and sweet biscuits. And, in between the visits to vineyards I can safely say I had some of the best food of my life. More on that at another time, but when you’ve eaten a five course or six course meal twice a day, supplemented with copious quantities of local specialities, the idea of existing on 500 calories seems just a little intimidating. I still haven’t made it back onto the scales. Another two fast days first I think!
Anyway, I resolved to try and made up a batch of celery soup, always a good option for fast day lunches because it is warming and filling without having a lot of calories. I wanted to use up some smoked salmon that was in the fridge but, it’s far too cold for salads. So, I was struck by the idea of a filo flan.
Of course dishes made with filo pastry can be really calorific, but some years ago a Croatian friend showed me how to use low fat yoghurt or creme fraiche instead of oil or butter to moisten the layers of pastry. And, this little dish comes in at under 300 calories, although it really doesn’t look or taste like diet food.
It was, in part, an experiment. I’d been sent a ‘companion pie dish’ from Mermaid to test and had intended to try recreating my mother’s beef pie. I really like the dish – it’s exactly the right size for a one person pie and has a nice solid bottom to ensure your pastry never goes soggy.
What’s more, I managed to turn my flan out without any problem!
The recipe is quite simple and infinitely variable. I’m sure it would work well with a vegetarian filling or with fresh rather than smoked salmon (maybe the leftovers from another meal). And it’s the perfect way to use up that one egg you have left in the box. I used half fat creme fraiche, but you could substitute milk or cream (if you are not dieting) and add cheese for a richer mixture.
- 30 g Smoked Salmon
- 1 Small Egg
- 20 ml Low Fat Creme Fraiche
- 1 Small Tomato
- 4 thin slices Courgette
- 1 sheet Filo Pastry
Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Take the Sheet of Filo Pastry and cut it into rectangles that are roughly the width of your pie or flan dish and about a third longer. Ideally you want three rectangles.
Spray your pie dish with quick release or 1 cal. Brush the first strip of pastry with a little creme fraiche thinned with water
Place the first strip of pastry across the dish
Brush the second strip with thinned creme fraiche and place diagonally across the first strip. Repeat with the third strip and press down very gently
Pull up any edges of pastry and crimp to make a rough 'shell
Place in the oven for 5 minutes
While the pastry is starting to crisp, make the filling by beating together the egg and remaining creme fraiche and stirring through the smoked salmon.
Remove the pastry shell from the oven and put a mixed layer of tomato and courgette/zucchini slices in the bottom of the pan (mine took 2 tomato and 2 courgette slices. Then season with a little salt and pepper and repeat.
Pour the filling over the vegetable mixture
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes till the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is risen and set
Can be eaten warm or cold.
So, now I’m back on track with the 5-2 diet and at the end of NEXT week I’ll weigh myself and see what the damage has been!
For those of you also following the 5-2 diet, good luck! Let me know if you have any comments or would like to join one of the numerous facebook groups I seem to have ended up signed up to. It’s a great way to get a little help and encouragement along the way.