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LIGHTEN UP

With warmer weather approaching now is the time to say ‘no’ to deep-fried foods, muffins for morning tea and snacks before dinner. If you want to look your best at the beach then now is the time to start thinking ‘thinner’s a winner.’

Instead of nibbling on chippies it’s healthier to chomp on a carrot. It certainly curbs the appetite more efficiently and is much lower in kilojoules. A glass of water every so often will also add to that full feeling, as does a hearty helping of fresh vegetables with steamed or poached chicken or fish for a light meal at night. It’s better for you to enjoy a larger lunch than fill up just before going to bed.

Consider exchanging some or all of the (fattening) oil for stock or water in stir-fries. The steam generated by the water also helps to cook the vegetables more quickly.  

Low-fat fish contain lots of goodness but are also ‘low-cal’. Check out the supermarket freezer for some economic options such as squid, mussels and shrimp. These are excellent in salads, stir-fries and many Asian recipes using stock instead of oil.

Eggs are also a good choice for lower kilojoule meals — as long as they are not fried. A 50 gram egg has about 250 kilojoules whereas a 50 gram meat patty (which has to be fried) contains about 500.

BLACKENED FISH WITH BANANA SALSA

The coating and be modified to suit your palate. You could add a pinch of brown sugar, ground cumin or oregano. The more flour used the lower the (chilli) heat.

Coating: 1-2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon each: chilli powder, paprika
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cayenne pepper, fine black pepper, salt
Fish: 500g skinned and boned thick white fish fillets
Banana Salsa: 1 small banana, peeled and diced
3-4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

Combine the ingredients for the coating. Divide the fish into 4 servings. Dust with the coating.

Combine the ingredients for the salsa.

Heat a non-stick frying pan until hot. Cook the fish for about 1-2 minutes each side depending on the thickness. If preferred, you can add a teaspoon of oil to the pan but the fish won’t be as black.

Serve with the salsa, a green salad and boiled rice. Serves 4.

INDIAN EGGS

Very yummy, very easy.

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 red chilli, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cumin, turmeric
1 large tomato, diced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs eg parsley, coriander, chives
naan bread for serving

Heat the oil in a medium frying pan. Sauté the onion, for 1-2 minutes on medium heat, until softened. Add the chilli and garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Stir in the spices and tomato and heat through.

Reduce the heat. Pour in the eggs and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until they are almost set. Remove while they are still a little runny and add the herbs.

Serve with warmed naan bread. Serves 2.

NICOISE SALMON SALAD

An easy option for warmer days.

420g can red kidney beans, drained
1 spring onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons each: chopped parsley, balsamic dressing
3 cups mesclun salad leaves
2 each: tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
210g can pink salmon, drained and broken into chunks
4 black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Place the beans in a bowl with the spring onion, parsley and dressing. 

Place the salad leaves in a wide serving bowl. Top with the bean combo.

Arrange the tomatoes, eggs, salmon, olives and capers on top in an attractive pattern. 

Great served with lemon wedges to squeeze. Serve immediately with small hot boiled potatoes. Serves 4 as a light meal.



Columns by Jan Bilton
Jan & Co
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