Watching your weight, but don’t want to survive on rabbit food? Fear not – food writer Angela Nilsen has given classic recipes a low-calorie twist.
Twice-baked cheese soufflés
1tbsp (heaped) polenta
1½tbsp olive oil
25g plain flour
250ml semi-skimmed milk
50g grated Parmesan cheese
1tsp Dijon mustard
50g light soft cheese
2tbsp (heaped) snipped chives
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
50g rocket, to serve
Freshly ground black pepper
350g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1tsp tomato puree
Pinch of crushed dried chillies
Lightly brush six 150ml ramekins with olive oil and coat with the polenta, shaking out any excess. Place the ramekins in a small roasting tin. Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Remove from the heat and pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring well until the mixture is smooth.
Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat. Reserve one heaped tablespoon of the Parmesan and stir the rest into the mixture, with the mustard, then the soft cheese in small spoonfuls. Add the chives, season with pepper and leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, mix together the tomatoes, onion, tomato puree and crushed chillies. Season with pepper, cover and chill until ready to serve. Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C/gas mark 6).
Beat the egg yolks into the cheese mixture. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold a spoonful into the mixture to slacken slightly. Gently and evenly fold in the remaining whites, half at a time, keeping the mixture light and airy. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekin dishes.
Pour cold water into the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden on top and risen. Carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool.
The souffles will sink as they cool.
The souffles rise again when re-baked, and you can prepare them up to 24 hours in advance. If re-cooking, preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C/gas mark 6) and remove the souffles from the fridge about 10 minutes before baking.
Turn each out of its dish and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan over each souffle, then bake for 10 minutes or until risen.
Scatter with chives. Serve each with a pile of salsa and rocket.
Classic version/lighter per serving: kcals 275/175
Fish & chips
800g even-sized King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes, unpeeled
2tbsp olive oil
300g frozen peas
1tbsp olive oil
2tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
4 even-sized pieces of skinless haddock, hake or cod fillet
50g self-raising flour, plus 1tbsp for coating fish
1 medium egg white
125ml ice-cold sparkling water
600ml sunflower oil, for frying
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Scrub the potatoes, cut them lengthways into 1.5cm thick slices, then cut each slice into 1.5cm thick chips. Tip the chips into a large saucepan, pour in enough water to just cover and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer for four mins. Drain, tip on to a clean tea towel and pat dry, then leave to cool. Preheat oven to 220C (fan 200C/gas mark 7). Put one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large roasting tray and heat in the oven for 10 mins. Transfer the chips to a bowl and toss in the remaining oil using your hands. Tip out in a single layer into the hot roasting tray. Roast for 10 minutes, then turn them over. Roast for five more minutes, turn again. Roast for a final five to eight minutes until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Meanwhile boil in water for four minutes, then drain, tip into the pan and lightly crush with the back of a fork. Mix in the oil, lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. Cover and set aside. Pat the fish fillets dry. Put the one tablespoon of flour on a plate and use to coat each fillet, patting off the excess.
Mix together the remaining flour, cornflour, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Lightly whisk the egg white with a balloon whisk until frothy and bubbly, but not too stiff. Pour the water into the flour mix, gently and briefly whisking. The batter shouldn’t be completely smooth. Add the egg white, then lightly whisk in just to mix. Try and keep as many bubbles as possible so the batter stays light.
Pour the oil for frying into a heavy, medium non-stick wok. Preheat to 200C, using a thermometer to check the temperature. Cook two pieces of fish at a time, dip them in the batter to coat and let some of it drip off, then lower into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Fry for five to six minutes, making sure the oil stays at 200C and turning the fish over halfway through so it’s golden all over. Lift out with a slotted spoon, drain and keep hot. Check the oil temperature is still 200C, then repeat with the remaining fish. Reheat the peas and serve with the fish, chips and lemon wedges.
Classic version/lighter per serving: kcals 915/649
85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1tbsp cocoa powder
½tsp instant coffee granules
½tsp vanilla extract
2 medium egg whites
1tbsp golden caster sugar
50g full-fat Greek yogurt
Fresh raspberries, to decorate
Chop the chocolate finely into a large heatproof bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water. Mix the cocoa, coffee and vanilla with two tablespoons of cold water, and pour over the chocolate.
Place the bowl over the water, stir, then remove from the heat. Leave with the bowl of chocolate still over the water stirring occasionally to check when melted. Stir in two tablespoons of boiling water. Leave to cool. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy. Beat the yoghurt into the chocolate. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon, then very gently fold in the rest of the whites until they are evenly mixed in – being careful not to over-mix. Spoon into four small ramekins and chill for a few hours. To serve, top with a few raspberries, then dust with a little cocoa powder.
Classic version/lighter per serving: kcals 397/167
Make It Lighter by Angela Nilsen is published by Octopus, £14.99.