In an extract from her highly successful cookery book for the Fast Diet, Mimi Spencer shares a delicious but healthy recipe idea

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An avid follower of the 5:2 diet  or 'intermittent fasting', Mimi Spencer  has written a fantastic cookery book named The Fast Diet Recipe Book  (RRP £14.99, Amazon ) filled with low calorie recipes to help you stay on track with your 5:2 meal plans. In an extract from the bestselling book she shares a great recipe idea for chicken puttanesca...

Calorie count: 247

Serves six

Horticulturalist, kitchen gardener and cook, Sarah Raven is also a Fast Diet fan. She says: ‘There is no need for your Fast Day meals to be punishing. This punchy puttanesca is low-fat and low-calorie but incredibly satisfying. It only needs a salad to make it a meal.’ Romaine lettuce would be a good choice.


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

20 anchovy fillets (drained); use fewer if you prefer a milder flavour

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

600g cherry tomatoes (orange ‘Sungold’ will give extra sweetness)

3 tbsps good-quality, mixed marinated olives (stoned)

2 tbsps capers (if salted, rinse before using)

12 boned, skinned chicken thighs

bunch of fresh basil (approximately 30g), stems removed

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole dish (shallow works best). Add anchovies and garlic and gently fry for 2-3 minutes, until the anchovies have melted, but the garlic has not browned. Add cherry tomatoes, olives and capers, and turn down heat to simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Then add the chicken thighs to the tomato mixture and stir well to combine. Place a lid on the casserole and position on a middle shelf in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, give the chicken a good stir so it’s well coated in the puttanesca sauce.

Put back into the oven without the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes, before stirring in the basil leaves. Check for seasoning and serve.

N.B: Cherry tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps the body fight disease.