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
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.