Low-Calorie 5:2 Diet Supper – Cod with Fennel and Tomatoes:
I always seem to end up on a diet in January. This year I’m trying a slightly new approach, though still based on the 5:2 diet, which worked VERY well for me last year until I went on a few gastronomy trips. I’m trying to lose 8kg in total and until I reach my target, I’m fasting two or three times a week. When I’m not fasting, I’m trying to follow what is called the 16:8 method, where you eat within an eight-hour window. I’m not a great breakfast eater anyway (a cup of tea is about all I can cope with first thing in the morning) so that suits me quite well.
I’m also working on a series of easy diet recipes to share which are suitable both for fast days and normal days. Since most of the time I cook for myself, they are recipes which work well for one or two – though many of them would also scale up if you are feeding a family.
I went to the KitchenAid cookery school recently and learnt how to make a very delicious and easy bouillabaisse. The technique we used to make the dish involved creating a base of vegetables and then layering in the fish on top, to steam for a short period on the hob. The result was fabulous and it was quick and easy to make. If you are not fasting and would like to try the original dish, do take a look at my easy bouillabaisse recipe. But, rather than try to work out the calorie count, I’ve made a simple, cut down dish which combines my own favourite ingredients to use with white fish and the technique we used for the bouillabaisse, which is probably better suited to cooking for a small group.
For this dish, you’ll need one piece of cod or other firm white fish per person and one head of fennel between two. There’s not much else – a couple of fresh tomatoes (or a good quality puree if you can’t find ripe tomatoes at this time of year), a handful of stoned kalamata olives and a shallot. You could mix it up for a normal day and add in some sliced waxy potato at the same time you add the fennel but I promise you it’s very good without.
White fish – cod, hake and monkfish for example – is generally very low in calories – even more so than Salmon, Tuna and Swordfish. So, on a 5:2 diet fast day that’s what I tend to eat.
- 150 g Cod Fillet
- 1/2 head Fennel
- 6 Kalamata Olives Stoned and halved
- 100 ml Stock
- 2 Medium Tomatoes
- 1 Shallot Peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic Finely chooped
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 handful Flat leaf parsley
- 1 pinch Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 Red Pepper Deseeded and sliced finely
- Warm the olive oil in a heavy based casserole, add the shallot and garlic and soften for a few minutes
- Skin, deseed and dice the tomato
- Deseed and slice the pepper
- Trim and slice the fennel
- Add the fennel to the shallot and garlic mixture and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes
- Add in the red pepper and continue to cook for a minute or so
- Add in the stock, paprika and chopped tomato
- Cover and cook for 15 minutes
- Once the fennel is tender, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary. Then add the cod and the olives You can skin the cod if you like, or add it skin side down.
- Cover the pan and continue to cook over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the cod is opaque
- Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve garnished with finely chopped parsley
What helps this recipe work so well is that the fish is steamed rather than baked, so it doesn’t dry out too much. That has the benefit of meaning you can reduce the fat right down and still get a great result.
Why not save this recipe for when you need inspiration on a 5:2 fast day.