Try Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson’s delicious recipes and you’ll be a fan too

Try Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson’s delicious recipes and you’ll be a fan too

Pinch Of Nom was created after a chance conversation that took place as Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson made their way home after their first visit

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Pinch Of Nom was created after a chance conversation that took place as Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson made their way home after their first visit to a local slimming group, one dark evening in early January 2016.

Both chefs by training, the pair were astonished at how little their fellow slimmers knew about cooking – and at how few ideas there seemed to be for ways to lose weight and enjoy food.

‘We were sad that people didn’t have many ideas around cooking or how to keep it exciting. So we went home that evening and started planning ways to help. We started the website at the end of that month,’ Kay, 33, recalls.

The pair, who have known each other for 14 years and live on the Wirral, near Liverpool, admit they were astounded and delighted by the rapid success of their recipe website, which offers suggestions of how to make delicious, easy and healthy dishes to help anyone watching their weight. 

Chefs Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson, pictured, who live on the Wirral, near Liverpool, met at a slimming group and were astonished at how little their fellow slimmers knew about cooking. They started their website a Pinch Of Nom the same month

Chefs Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson, pictured, who live on the Wirral, near Liverpool, met at a slimming group and were astonished at how little their fellow slimmers knew about cooking. They started their website a Pinch Of Nom the same month

Chefs Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson, pictured, who live on the Wirral, near Liverpool, met at a slimming group and were astonished at how little their fellow slimmers knew about cooking. They started their website a Pinch Of Nom the same month

Their low-calorie recipes are also designed to complement existing popular slimming programmes – another factor in their wide appeal.

The website, called Pinch Of Nom, was an immediate hit – crashing due to the high number of visitors within two months of launching – partly thanks to the extraordinary popularity of its mouth-watering recipe for strawberries stuffed with cheesecake.

Now an established internet sensation, it attracts 14 million visitors every month and 5-6 million monthly unique viewings. (A unique viewing refers to the number of distinct individuals using a web page and a visit refers to the number of times a page is viewed – regardless of who by.)

So it’s perhaps not surprising that Kay and Kate’s new recipe book, Pinch Of Nom, has become the fastest-selling UK non-fiction book since records began.

Pinch of Nom was an instant hit. The two women's low-calorie recipes are designed to complement existing slimming programmes (file picture)

Pinch of Nom was an instant hit. The two women's low-calorie recipes are designed to complement existing slimming programmes (file picture)

Pinch of Nom was an instant hit. The two women’s low-calorie recipes are designed to complement existing slimming programmes (file picture)

‘We didn’t really have any expectations when we first launched the website. As long as we were able to help a few people along the way then we were happy,’ says Kate, 47.

They chose the name Pinch Of Nom as something of a little joke to needle Kate’s sister Lisa who they say ‘hates it when people say nom, nom, nom when they are enjoying their food’!

HOW OUR RECIPES WORK 

EVERYDAY LIGHT

We believe in the ethos of ‘everything in moderation’. 

Our Everyday Light recipes are those you can have at any time: they’re easy on the calories and filling. 

But you may notice some of these recipes are higher in calories than those in the other categories. 

The reason for this is that some calories are ‘used up’ on vegetables and other ingredients that conform to zero point-style foods applicable to the UK’s most popular diet programmes.

WEEKLY INDULGENCE

These are recipes you can add to weekly meal plans but they have one or two ingredients that make them slightly more indulgent, so should be used in moderation. 

A good basis of any diet is that you don’t have to miss out on enjoying dinner parties or the odd treat.

SPECIAL OCCASION

Our Special Occasion recipes have your back! 

Lower in calories than regular desserts, snacks or treats, this section still comes out on top against the high-calorie versions. 

However, ‘everything in moderation’ should come to mind with these. 

Save these recipes for pushing the boat out and for… you guessed it… special occasions!

CALORIES AND VALUES

Our calorie counts in these recipes are all worked out per individual serving. 

This does not include accompaniments for specific recipes, such as rice or potatoes. 

This is because we give these notes as a serving suggestion only.

You can easily swap out rice and pasta for veggie low-calorie alternatives, such as cauliflower rice. 

We have not included ‘values’ from mainstream diet programmes in our book, as these are ever-changing and we want the book to be a resource that is always up to date. 

This down-to-earth attitude has proved key to their success. Both have struggled with their own weight – with Kate losing five stone to date and Kay seven. 

‘It’s an on-going battle. We realise losing weight has no quick-fix. It’s hard,’ both readily admit. This means they completely identify with visitors to their site. 

As Kate says, ‘All the recipes are created by us, and our team, for people like us. We are just normal people who struggle with their weight, like a lot of people do. 

‘We know we’re never going to be featured on the front of a magazine and I think sometimes those images can be disheartening for people. 

‘They think, “I’ll never look like that, so why bother?” We know trying to lose weight isn’t easy.’

Kay is blunter still. ‘We’re just two fat chefs who want to lose some weight and share the dishes we make with others. We’re not some skinny minnies dictating to people which diet they should follow or what they should eat.’

True to their word, the pair select their recipes according to popular demand. ‘We ask our followers what they want. 

‘Every so often Kay posts in the Facebook group asking what people want to see and we do our best to provide healthier options,’ says Kate.

And for both of them, the food very much comes first. Kay says, ‘From day one it’s been about the food, not us. The food we make is important – we are not.’

Moreover, Kate and Kay have deliberately kept their dishes simple and economical to produce. ‘Our recipes are easy to follow and they turn out like the picture! 

They use ingredients you’ll probably have in the cupboard, and if not you can find them in most supermarkets. They are very family-friendly, so no one has to make two or three different meals each night,’ says Kate.

The Pinch Of Nom team is still very small, however. Kate focuses on the recipes and Kay on the website, with two others working alongside them. 

‘We’ve taught ourselves everything, from making videos to food photography, so it’s been a challenge,’ laughs Kay. 

‘We try not to think too much about the numbers of people visiting our website, as that’s a lot of people!’ she adds. 

Low in calories, their recipes can be incorporated into any weight-loss plan, including popular slimming programmes. ‘We’re not a diet or diet plan. We just provide healthier options for those that want them,’ says Kate.

‘We try to make our recipes as filling as possible, so you don’t find yourself reaching for snacks in between meals, and we also try to switch some of the more calorific ingredients for healthier options.’

They hope their new book will inspire others looking for delicious, satisfying meals to help them lose weight. 

Today, they are sharing some of these mouthwatering recipes with Weekend readers, with more to follow in the Daily Mail next week. 

So whether you fancy tucking into a tasty beef ragu fettuccine or a hearty Mediterranean lambshank casserole followed by tiramisu or chocolate éclairs, now you can do so without a guilty conscience.  

TASTY WAYS TO FIGHT THE FAT

PROTEIN Lean meats are a great source of protein, providing essential nutrients and fantastic filling power. Use the leanest cuts and trim off all visible fat. Fish is high in protein and naturally low in fat. You can always use vegetarian protein options instead of meat in our recipes.

LOW-FAT DAIRY We often substitute low-fat soft cheese or yoghurt for higher-fat options to instantly make a dish healthier.

Chefs Kay and Kate said a way to keep food exciting when trying lower calorie versions is to add spices (file picture)

Chefs Kay and Kate said a way to keep food exciting when trying lower calorie versions is to add spices (file picture)

Chefs Kay and Kate said a way to keep food exciting when trying lower calorie versions is to add spices (file picture)

TINNED AND FROZEN VEG They keep costs down and, compared to fresh, they make little or no difference to the flavour.

HERBS AND SPICES When you’re swapping ingredients for lower fat/sugar/calorie versions, keep food interesting by seasoning well with herbs and spices. Don’t be shy – not all of them burn your mouth off!

STOCK POTS/CUBES These add instant flavour and are so versatile. Red and white wine stock pots, now available in most supermarkets, can add an amazing depth to a recipe – without the calories of wine. If only they could take the calories out of actual wine!

VINEGARS Taste is all about balance. When you remove fat from a dish, flavour can dwindle. A good vinegar can bring rich, deep flavours to a balanced dish.

LEMONS AND LIMES Citrus fruits pack a huge flavour punch. They’re perfect when you need an extra bit of ‘zing’.

TORTILLA WRAPS Pinch Of Nom recipes are synonymous with creating magic with wraps. You can even use them in place of pastry.

WHOLEMEAL BREAD A great source of fibre, it can be used as it is or broken down into breadcrumbs.

PULSES, RICE AND BEANS Satisfying and high in protein and fibre, these are wonderful cupboard staples.

OATS A fantastic and cost-effective ingredient – try them in Lemon And Blueberry Baked Oats (page 46).

EGGS Filling, tasty and versatile, they can be used as a butter alternative in dishes like mashed potatoes or as a rich source of protein in meals like Shakshuka (page 47).

LOW-CALORIE SPRAY This makes little difference to the way most ingredients are cooked, but has a huge impact on calories because you use so much less of it than you would conventional oil.

SWEETENER We use it sparingly, but you can add less or a little more – it’s all down to individual taste.

GLUTEN-FREE BREADS Gluten-free ciabattas are often lower in calories and also have a high fibre density, which is a perfect way to balance a low-calorie diet.

CHEESECAKE-STUFFED STRAWBERRIES (WEEKLY INDULGENCE)

The recipe that started it all! This recipe came about when trying to assemble some ingredients to make a healthier sweet treat to curb the craving. 

The blog was set up in order to share this recipe with those who may be interested and the rest, as they say, is history. 

It’s still one of the most popular recipes on our website and, as simple as it is, it’s one we are hugely proud of too. It also tastes absolutely delicious.

The recipe for cheesecake stuffed strawberries, pictured, is what started Pinch of Nom. It came about when they were trying to assemble some ingredients to make a healthier sweet treat to curb their cravings

The recipe for cheesecake stuffed strawberries, pictured, is what started Pinch of Nom. It came about when they were trying to assemble some ingredients to make a healthier sweet treat to curb their cravings

The recipe for cheesecake stuffed strawberries, pictured, is what started Pinch of Nom. It came about when they were trying to assemble some ingredients to make a healthier sweet treat to curb their cravings

Serves 4 l Prep time 10 mins l No cooking l 107kcal per serving

24 medium-large strawberries, hulled

120g (4½oz) quark

25g (1oz) low-fat cream cheese

50g (1¾oz) granulated sweetener (or to taste)

½tsp vanilla extract

1 low-calorie digestive biscuit, crushed

Using a small, sharp knife, cut out a cone shape from the middle of each strawberry, where the hull was. Put the quark, cream cheese, sweetener and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until smooth.

Fill a small freezer bag with the quark and cheese mixture. Make sure you get all the mixture in one corner. Seal the bag and cut the tip of the corner. The hole should be quite small so you can pipe inside the strawberries. Squeeze the cheese filling into the middle of each strawberry and sprinkle with digestive biscuit crumbs.

Keep the stuffed strawberries in the fridge until you are ready to serve them. (But avoid keeping them in there for longer than 1 hour ahead because they will become soggy.)

BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

CREAMY MUSHROOM BRUSCHETTA (WEEKLY INDULGENCE)

Vegetarian and gluten free 

We can’t rave about these  enough! One of our quickest and simplest recipes, this bruschetta is a fantastic option for a lazy breakfast, but also dinner parties and gatherings. 

The dish uses a deceptively small number of ingredients and is fantastically flavoursome.

Although very simple and quick to make this dish is packed with flavour and is great for an easy meal or impressive party snack

Although very simple and quick to make this dish is packed with flavour and is great for an easy meal or impressive party snack

Although very simple and quick to make this dish is packed with flavour and is great for an easy meal or impressive party snack

Serves 2 l Prep time 5 mins l

Cooking time 10 mins l

164kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

250g (9oz) chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 

2 gluten-free ciabatta rolls

25g (1oz) low-fat cream cheese

1tbsp chopped fresh basil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1tbsp snipped fresh chives

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and place over a low-medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for a couple of minutes, until they start to soften. 

Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the garlic is soft. Meanwhile, cut the ciabattas in half lengthways and toast until golden. 

Place them on 2 serving plates. Add the cream cheese to the frying pan and mix it through the mushrooms over a low heat, then add the basil and season with salt and pepper. 

Top the toasted ciabatta with the creamy mushroom mixture, scatter with the chives and enjoy.

LEMON AND BLUEBERRY BAKED OATS (WEEKLY INDULGENCE)

Vegetarian, gluten free and suitable for freezing 

Baked oats are a perfect warm and filling breakfast. This is one of the most popular flavour-baked oat recipes we have on the Pinch Of Nom website, and it is often also used for a dessert – it feels that special.

The recipe for this weekly indulgence is one of the most popular flavour-baked oat recipes on Pinch of Nom's successful website

The recipe for this weekly indulgence is one of the most popular flavour-baked oat recipes on Pinch of Nom's successful website

The recipe for this weekly indulgence is one of the most popular flavour-baked oat recipes on Pinch of Nom’s successful website

Serves 1 l Prep time 5 mins l Cooking time 35-40 mins l 440kcal per serving

40g (1½oz) oats

175g (6oz) fat-free natural yoghurt

1tsp vanilla extract

¾tbsp granulated sweetener

Grated zest and juice of ½ a lemon

2 medium eggs (or 1 medium egg if you prefer a slightly drier texture)

50g (1¾oz) blueberries

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put all the ingredients into a bowl, keeping back one-quarter of the blueberries, and stir until combined. Pour into a small ovenproof dish and scatter the remaining blueberries on top.

Place the dish on a baking tray, so you don’t end up with a messy oven if it rises a bit too much, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.

BACON, POTATO AND SPRING ONION FRITTATA (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Suitable for freezing and gluten free

The classic flavour combination of bacon, onion and potato works really well in this easy and filling frittata. 

The potato makes the dish more substantial, the egg provides a hit of protein to curb hunger and the small amount of cheese makes it super tasty.

A top tip from the two chefs for this gluten free frittata is to pop it under the grill if you want the cheese a bit crispier

A top tip from the two chefs for this gluten free frittata is to pop it under the grill if you want the cheese a bit crispier

A top tip from the two chefs for this gluten free frittata is to pop it under the grill if you want the cheese a bit crispier

Serves 4 l Prep time 10 mins l

Cooking time 10-15 mins l

249kcal per serving

200g (7oz) medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

COOK’S TIP 

You can also use 200g skin on new potatoes, cut into large chunks, instead of the peeled medium potatoes, to give a different texture to this dish.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 onion, sliced

6 bacon medallions, diced

6 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

8 medium eggs

1tbsp chopped fresh parsley

40g (1½oz) reduced-fat

Cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling salted water until soft, then drain and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Spray a large nonstick ovenproof frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. 

Add the  sliced onion and cook for a few minutes, until browned, then add the diced bacon and cook for 3 minutes, until the bacon is almost cooked. 

Add the spring onions and cook for another minute. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. 

When the onions and bacon are cooked, stir in the cooked potato and chopped parsley. 

Pour in the beaten eggs and cook for 2 minutes, then sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top and place the pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the egg is cooked and the cheese has melted. 

You can pop it under the grill if you want the cheese a bit crispier. Serve immediately.

SHAKSHUKA (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Vegetarian and gluten free 

This North African dish is quite simply a tomato-based stew made with onions, garlic and peppers, with eggs poached in the mixture. 

It’s a home comfort-style meal that’s easy on the calories with a slight chilli heat. Serve it with some new potatoes and green vegetables, or just on its own for brunch.

This North African dish is simply a tomato-based stew made with onions, garlic and peppers, with eggs poached in the mix

This North African dish is simply a tomato-based stew made with onions, garlic and peppers, with eggs poached in the mix

This North African dish is simply a tomato-based stew made with onions, garlic and peppers, with eggs poached in the mix

Serves 2 l Prep time 10 mins l

Cooking time 25 mins l 242kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 onion, sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

½tsp ground cumin

½tsp mild chilli powder

400g tin of chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

A pinch of granulated sweetener

1tsp lemon juice

100g (3½oz) spinach

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A handful of chopped fresh parsley or coriander

4 medium eggs

Broccoli, to serve (optional)

Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes, until they have started to soften. 

Add the garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes. (This should take 8-10 minutes in total.) Add the cumin and chilli powder and stir for a minute or so, then stir in the tomatoes, sweetener and lemon juice. 

Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach, then turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Sprinkle half the parsley or coriander over the tomato mixture, then make 4 wells in the mix and crack an egg into each. 

Sprinkle the eggs with some salt and pepper, cover with a lid or foil and simmer over a low heat for 8-10 minutes if you like your eggs runny, or a bit longer if you prefer them firmer. 

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the remaining parsley or coriander and serve, with broccoli, if using.

LUNCH

VEGGIE BURGERS (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Vegetarian, suitable for freezing and gluten free 

You can’t beat a good veggie burger. The very best of them are substantial and tasty and, if you’re a meat-eater, you don’t even miss the meat. 

This is one of those great burgers. The addition of a small amount of Parmesan cheese gives them a fantastic sharp, rich taste. Serve with a large salad and enjoy!

The chefs said adding Parmesan cheese gives the burgers, pictured, a fantastic sharp, rich taste. The healthy dinner only takes 10 minutes to cook

The chefs said adding Parmesan cheese gives the burgers, pictured, a fantastic sharp, rich taste. The healthy dinner only takes 10 minutes to cook

The chefs said adding Parmesan cheese gives the burgers, pictured, a fantastic sharp, rich taste. The healthy dinner only takes 10 minutes to cook 

Serves 4 l Prep time 15 mins l Cooking time 10 mins l 118kcal per serving

220g (8oz) medium potatoes, peeled and diced

Low-calorie cooking spray

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium carrot, grated

50g (1¾oz) green beans, trimmed and finely chopped

50g (1¾oz) cauliflower florets, finely chopped

50g (1¾oz) broccoli florets, finely chopped

50g (1¾oz) frozen peas

50g (1¾oz) sweetcorn kernels (tinned and drained, or frozen)

A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

30g (1oz) Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian hard cheese)

To serve (optional)

4 wholemeal burger buns

Lettuce leaves

Sweet Potato Rostis With Soured Cream & Chive Dip (see below)

Cook the diced potatoes in a pan of boiling, salted water until soft, then drain well and mash with a hand-held masher or fork. Spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. 

Add the garlic, carrot, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring so they don’t start to colour. Add the peas and sweetcorn and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Mix together the mashed potato and vegetables in a bowl, then stir in the chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. 

Divide the mixture into 4 equal pieces, and form each into a burger shape. (You can freeze the burgers at this point for cooking on another day. Thoroughly defrost before cooking.)

Spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the burgers and cook for 5 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom, then turn and cook for another few minutes. 

When the other side is golden brown, remove from the heat and serve the burgers on their own, in a wholemeal roll with lettuce, or with Sweet Potato Rostis With Soured Cream & Chive Dip. 

SWEET POTATO ROSTIS WITH SOURED CREAM & CHIVE DIP (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Sweet potato gives these rostis instant flavour, instead of using bland white potatoes. 

Pepped up with some seasoning, these are best served with a low-calorie soured cream and chive dip, using fat-free yoghurt in place of calorie-heavy cream sauces.

Makes 12 l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 35 mins l 33kcal per serving

For the rostis

1 large sweet potato, peeled

½tsp dried chilli flakes (chipotle chilli flakes are really tasty)

½tsp ground cumin

½tsp onion granules

1tsp garlic granules

½tsp sea salt

½tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

Low-calorie cooking spray

For the dip

250g (9oz) fat-free Greek-style yoghurt

3tbsp chives, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Grate the sweet potato into a microwaveable bowl, cover with clingfilm and microwave on high for 2 minutes. 

Cover with a clean tea towel and squeeze out excess water. Add the spices, onion and garlic granules, salt, pepper and egg to the sweet potato. Mix well. If you prefer the rostis spicier, add extra chilli flakes.

Spray a baking tray with low-calorie cooking spray. Separate the mixture into 12 small handfuls and squeeze out the excess water while shaping them into rounds. 

Place on the tray and flatten, then spray with more low-calorie cooking spray and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Turn the rostis carefully after 20 minutes, spray again with low-calorie cooking spray and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, until golden. 

Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt and chives in a small bowl to make the dip. Serve the rostis while they’re hot. 

SOY AND GINGER SALMON FISHCAKES (EVERYDAY LIGHT) 

Freezable and gluten free 

These may seem wonderfully decadent, but they use the healthiest and freshest of ingredients. 

The beautiful, delicate taste of salmon, combined with sharp lime and warming ginger, balanced with salty soy sauce… you’ll never buy a pre-made fishcake again.

After making these at home, you will never want to buy a frozen fishcake again the two chefs said

After making these at home, you will never want to buy a frozen fishcake again the two chefs said

After making these at home, you will never want to buy a frozen fishcake again the two chefs said 

Serves 4 l Prep time 30 mins l Cooking time 20 mins l 164kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

150g (5½oz) medium potatoes, peeled and roughly diced

4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

2tsp grated root ginger

4 medium, pre-cooked salmon fillets (around 500g/1lb 2oz in total), skin removed, flesh broken into large flakes

Grated zest of 1 lime

2tsp dark soy sauce (use gluten-free)

To serve

Green salad

Sweet chilli sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. 

Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes, until soft, then drain well and mash until smooth. You can use a hand-held masher or potato ricer to do this. Set aside.

Spray a small frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the spring onions and grated ginger and fry gently for 3-4 minutes, until the spring onions soften. 

Be careful not to let it colour too much. Add the cooked spring onion and ginger, flaked salmon, lime zest and soy sauce to the mashed potato and mix well. 

Divide the mixture into 12 equal-sized balls, then mould them into fishcake shapes. Place them on the baking tray and spray the tops with some more low-calorie cooking spray.

Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then turn them over gently and cook for another 10 minutes, until both sides are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve with a green salad and sweet chilli sauce, if using. 

DUCK AND ORANGE SALAD (EVERYDAY LIGHT) 

Gluten free 

This flavour combination is a true classic, but it can seem intimidating to the novice cook. 

This recipe keeps things really simple while still delivering the delicious taste of a rich duck breast and the acidity of the orange. The balsamic vinegar balances out the flavours for a delicious, easy meal.

To make this 338kcal per serving dish for two people you will need new potatoes, duck brest, oranges and balsamic vinegar

To make this 338kcal per serving dish for two people you will need new potatoes, duck brest, oranges and balsamic vinegar

To make this 338kcal per serving dish for two people you will need new potatoes, duck brest, oranges and balsamic vinegar 

Serves 2 l Prep time 5 mins l Cooking time 20 mins l 338kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

100g (3½oz) new potatoes, thinly sliced

½tsp Chinese 5-spice

CHEF’S TIP 

Mixed leaves that have a bitter or peppery flavour, such as watercress or rocket, can be used as the salad, and they work particularly well with this dish.

1 duck breast (all skin and visible fat removed), cut in half lengthways

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large oranges, peeled and cut into segments (reserve any juice)

4tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salad leaves (as many as you like)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Spray a baking tray with low-calorie cooking spray and spread the sliced potatoes out on the tray. 

Spray with low-calorie cooking spray and sprinkle with Chinese 5-spice. Place in the oven to cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a low heat. Season the duck breast and cook on one side for 7 minutes, until really golden, before turning and cooking the other side for 6 minutes.

After the potatoes have been in the oven for 10 minutes, turn them over, spray with more low-calorie cooking spray and put them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes, until golden.

Remove the duck from the frying pan and set aside to rest. Place half of the orange segments in the same frying pan with any reserved orange juice and add the balsamic vinegar. 

Season with sea salt and pepper and reduce over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. You should be left with a slightly thickened dressing.

Thinly slice the duck – it should be slightly pink in the middle. Put the salad leaves and potato slices on a dish with the duck and remaining orange segments. Drizzle the dressing over and serve.

Mixed leaves that have a bitter or peppery flavour, such as watercress or rocket, can be used as the salad, and they work particularly well with this dish. 

TANDOORI CHICKEN KEBABS (EVERYDAY LIGHT) 

Freezable and gluten free 

Tandoori chicken is traditionally prepared by roasting chicken, marinated in yoghurt and spices, in a tandoor clay oven. 

However, we suggest using the barbecue to the same effect in this recipe. You can also use the oven on a rainy day without any bother. The marinade makes the chicken really tender and tasty.

This meal only takes 30 minutes to cook and is delicious served with Greek-style yoghurt. It can also be cooked on the BBQ

This meal only takes 30 minutes to cook and is delicious served with Greek-style yoghurt. It can also be cooked on the BBQ

This meal only takes 30 minutes to cook and is delicious served with Greek-style yoghurt. It can also be cooked on the BBQ

Serves 4 l Prep time 5 mins (plus marinating time) l Cooking time 30 mins l 236kcal per serving

250g (9oz) fat-free Greek-style yoghurt, plus extra to serve (optional)

4tbsp tandoori spice mix

CHEF’S TIP 

You can freeze the marinated chicken skewers on trays before cooking. 

When you’re ready to use them, simply defrost thoroughly and cook as per the recipe.

1 garlic clove, finely grated

1tbsp finely grated root ginger

Juice of ½ a lemon

1tsp dark soy sauce (use gluten-free)

½tsp salt

1-2 drops of red food colouring (optional)

600g (1lb 5oz) chicken thigh fillets (skin and visible fat removed), cut into large chunks

Green salad, to serve

Put all of the ingredients except the chicken in a bowl and stir thoroughly. Add the chicken to the yoghurt marinade, cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas 6, or fire up the barbecue. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread onto skewers. (You can use metal or bamboo skewers, but soak bamboo skewers in water first to prevent them from burning.)

Place the skewers on the barbecue and grill for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through. 

If you’re cooking the skewers in the oven instead, place them on a baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked through. 

Serve the kebabs with a green salad and more yoghurt, if using (but don’t forget to count the extra calories).

You can freeze the marinated chicken skewers on trays before cooking. When you’re ready to use them, simply defrost thoroughly and cook as per the recipe below. 

DINNER VEGETABLE TAGINE (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Vegan, vegetarian and freezable 

A wonderful Moroccan favourite, tagines are impressive and easy to make. 

The dried apricots and the spice mix add really authentic flavours, and you can leave it bubbling away to fill the house with the scent of Morocco as you prepare any accompaniments. Delicious!

This dish is cooked at a medium-high heat and contains swede, parsnips and shallots as well as a range of spices

This dish is cooked at a medium-high heat and contains swede, parsnips and shallots as well as a range of spices

This dish is cooked at a medium-high heat and contains swede, parsnips and shallots as well as a range of spices

Serves 4 (generously) l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 50 mins l 140kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 large carrot, cut into chunky pieces

100g (3½oz) swede, peeled and cut into chunky pieces

100g (3½oz) parsnips, peeled and cut into chunky pieces

6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthways

2 peppers, deseeded and diced

150g (5½oz) peeled and deseeded butternut squash, cut into chunky pieces

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1tbsp Moroccan Spice Mix (see end of ingredients list)

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 250ml (9fl oz) boiling water

60g (2¼oz) dried apricots, halved

400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Salt

A small handful of fresh coriander, chopped

For the Moroccan Spice Mix

2tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cumin

2tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground white pepper

½tsp ground allspice

½tbsp ground turmeric

Mix all of the Moroccan Spice Mix ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Spray a heavy-based pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned – you may need to do this in batches. 

When all of the vegetables are browned, return them to the pan, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add 1tbsp Moroccan Spice Mix and stir for a couple of minutes. (Keep any leftover seasoning in an airtight container for future use.) 

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, stir in the apricots, cover and turn down the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir the chickpeas in, cook for another 5 minutes, then taste and season with salt, if necessary. Sprinkle the coriander over and serve. 

DIET COLA CHICKEN (EVERYDAY LIGHT)

Freezable and gluten free 

Diet cola may seem like a crazy ingredient to use, but trust us: this has become a classic Pinch Of Nom recipe. 

When the majority of the liquid has evaporated (have patience, because it will happen) you’re left with a sticky, sweet sauce that works perfectly with the balance and acidity of the vinegar-tomato base.

It is perfect served with freshly cooked rice for a Chinese fakeaway night.

After the liquid has evaporated you are left with a sticky sweet sauce, perfect for a Chinese inspired dinner dish (pictured)

After the liquid has evaporated you are left with a sticky sweet sauce, perfect for a Chinese inspired dinner dish (pictured)

After the liquid has evaporated you are left with a sticky sweet sauce, perfect for a Chinese inspired dinner dish (pictured)

Serves 4 l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 25 mins l 217kcal per serving

Low-calorie cooking spray

2 chicken breasts (skin and visible fat removed), diced

½tsp Chinese 5-spice

Sea salt

1 red onion, sliced

1.5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

6 mushrooms, quartered

½ a red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

½ a green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

½ a yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

6 baby corn, halved lengthways

2tbsp tomato purée

2tbsp dark soy sauce (use gluten-free)

1tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1tbsp vinegar (such as sherry or rice)

330ml can of diet cola

½ a chicken stock cube

1 chicken stock pot

5 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped

Spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a low heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle with Chinese 5-spice and season with salt. Stir and cook for a few minutes, until the chicken has started to brown.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. 

Add a few more sprays of low-calorie cooking spray to the pan, then add the onion, ginger, garlic and mushrooms and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to soften. 

Add all of the peppers, the baby corn, tomato purée, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Stir, then add the diet cola. Stir again and then bring to the boil.

Crumble in the half stock cube, add the stock pot and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

When the sauce has started to thicken and go a bit syrupy, return the chicken to the pan and stir in the spring onions. Simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Check the consistency and if it’s not quite thick enough, simmer for a bit longer, until the required consistency is reached, ensuring the chicken is cooked through. 

BEEF RAGU FETTUCCINE (EVERYDAY LIGHT) 

Freezable 

This fettuccine dish is a great family meal. Rich with beef and tomatoes, it makes the perfect end to a long day. 

Serve with a small glass of red wine and side salad for a really indulgent meal, or just on its own as the family descends for dinner en masse!

Perfect for families, this pasta dish could be served with a small glass of red wine and side salad for a really indulgent meal

Perfect for families, this pasta dish could be served with a small glass of red wine and side salad for a really indulgent meal

Perfect for families, this pasta dish could be served with a small glass of red wine and side salad for a really indulgent meal

Serves 4 l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 2 hrs 30 mins l 445kcal per serving

300g (10½oz) stewing steak (all visible fat removed), cut into bite-sized chunks

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 onion, finely diced

1 medium carrot, finely diced

1 courgette, finely diced

150g (5½oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500g carton of passata

2 beef stock cubes dissolved in 300ml (10fl oz) boiling water

2tsp dried oregano

2tsp dried basil

1tsp Worcestershire sauce

2tbsp tomato purée

50g (1¾oz) pearl barley

200g (7oz) dried fettuccine

Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)

Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Spray a large saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray. On a high heat, fry off the meat for about 10 minutes, until browned.

Add the vegetables and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients apart from the fettuccine and pearl barley. 

Mix well, pop a lid on the saucepan and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

After an hour, add the pearl barley to the ragu and stir. Put the lid back on and cook for a further hour, until the beef is very tender. 

Around 20 minutes before the ragu has finished cooking, put on a pan of water and cook the fettuccine according to the instructions on the packet. 

Add the cooked, drained fettuccine to the ragu, combine and serve, topped with grated Parmesan cheese, if using (remember to count the calories). 

MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE LAMB SHANKS (SPECIAL OCCASION)

Freezable and gluten free

Slow-cooking – whether it’s done in the oven, a pressure cooker or a slow cooker – is a wonderful way to bring out the beautiful, rich and tender taste of lamb. 

The delicious ingredients in this recipe make it the perfect dish for wowing your guests at a dinner party, without the need for using high-calorie ingredients.

This dish, pictured, should be made for a special occasion and can be served with couscous. It takes three hours to cook

This dish, pictured, should be made for a special occasion and can be served with couscous. It takes three hours to cook

This dish, pictured, should be made for a special occasion and can be served with couscous. It takes three hours to cook 

Serves 4 l Prep time 15 mins l Cooking time 2 hrs 30 mins to 3 hrs l 582kcal per serving

4 lamb shanks (all visible fat removed), 400-450g (14oz-1lb) each

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Low-calorie cooking spray

1tbsp Worcestershire sauce, plus a dash to deglaze the pan

1 beef stock cube dissolved in 250ml (9fl oz) boiling water

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 celery sticks, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

2tbsp tomato purée

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 beef stock cube (in addition to the dissolved one above)

1tsp fish sauce

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp dried oregano

1tsp dried rosemary

½tsp dried thyme

A generous handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Cooked couscous, to serve (optional)

Season the lamb with sea salt and pepper. Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and add the lamb shanks. 

Brown them over a medium heat for around 5 minutes, until they have been browned all over (this boosts the flavour). Place the lamb in a large lidded casserole dish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Deglaze the frying pan with a dash of the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock, scraping up any bits of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan – use a wooden spoon for this so you don’t damage the pan. 

Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Fry for a few minutes, coating them in the deglaze mix, until the onion starts to colour, then add the tomato purée and fry for 3-5 minutes.

Pour the mixture from the pan into the casserole dish, on top of the lamb shanks. Add in the remaining ingredients except the parsley, making sure to crumble in the beef stock cube when adding it. 

Cover and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours, until the lamb is tender, checking a few times during cooking to see if you need to add more liquid – add a little water if it starts to look dry.

Remove the shanks from the casserole dish and heat the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency (you may want to pass the liquid through a fat strainer as lamb is naturally quite fatty). 

Stir the chopped parsley through and serve with couscous, if using, pouring the sauce over the top. 

DESSERTS

APPLE STRUDEL (SPECIAL OCCASION)

Freezable and gluten free 

When we first put this recipe up on the website, it caused quite a stir. So much so that a leading brand of tortilla wraps actually sold out! 

Luckily, they’re back in stock, alongside other brands of low-calorie tortilla wraps, meaning you can get that beautiful pastry-like texture and taste, minus the calories.

When the apple strudel, dish pictured, recipe went up on the website, a leading brand of tortilla wraps actually sold out. You will need a cooking apple, cinnamon and mincemeat for this creation

When the apple strudel, dish pictured, recipe went up on the website, a leading brand of tortilla wraps actually sold out. You will need a cooking apple, cinnamon and mincemeat for this creation

When the apple strudel, dish pictured, recipe went up on the website, a leading brand of tortilla wraps actually sold out. You will need a cooking apple, cinnamon and mincemeat for this creation

Serves 1 l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 10 mins l 278kcal per serving

COOK’S TIP

You can make the apple strudel parcel in advance and freeze it before it goes into the oven. 

When you’re ready to eat, defrost before baking as per the recipe.

1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped

½tsp ground cinnamon

2tsp granulated sweetener, plus extra for sprinkling

1tbsp water

2tsp mincemeat

1 low-calorie tortilla wrap (use a gluten-free wrap to make it gluten-free)

1 medium egg, beaten

Low-calorie cooking spray

Mix the apple, cinnamon, sweetener and water in a microwaveable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and cook on high for 2 minutes, or until the apple starts to soften but still has bite.

Drain off any excess water from the bowl, then weigh out 60g cooked apple and mix it through the mincemeat. (Save the rest for use another day.)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. The next stages are a bit tricky, so follow the 4 visual steps below. 

When the strudel is assembled, spray a baking tray with low-calorie cooking spray and put the filled wrap on the tray. Sprinkle with a little sweetener and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy warm.

You can make the apple strudel parcel in advance and freeze it before it goes into the oven. When you’re ready to eat, defrost before baking as per the recipe.

1 Fold the tortilla wrap into 3 equal sections. Press down on it firmly with your hands so that you will still be able to see the fold marks when you unfold it again. Open out the wrap and fold it in half vertically.

2 Make a diagonal cut about 2 fingers’ width from the bottom of the wrap, running from the fold line to the edge. Measure another finger’s width above and make another cut at the same angle. Repeat along the wrap (you should get 6-8 strips).

3 Open out the wrap and brush the whole thing all over with beaten egg, paying extra attention to the edges, so that they will stick down well when you start folding. Spoon the apple mixture in a line along the middle of the wrap.

4 Fold the top and bottom of the wrap in. Starting at the end closest to you, fold the bottom left strip up towards the top right. Fold the bottom right strip over towards the top left. Alternate the remaining strips until all the filling is enclosed. 

1- Fold the tortilla wrap into 3 equal sections. Press down on it firmly with your hands so that you will still be able to see the fold marks when you unfold it again. Open out the wrap and fold it in half vertically

1- Fold the tortilla wrap into 3 equal sections. Press down on it firmly with your hands so that you will still be able to see the fold marks when you unfold it again. Open out the wrap and fold it in half vertically

2 Make a diagonal cut about 2 fingers’ width from the bottom of the wrap, running from the fold line to the edge. Measure another finger’s width above and make another cut at the same angle. Repeat along the wrap (you should get 6-8 strips)

2 Make a diagonal cut about 2 fingers’ width from the bottom of the wrap, running from the fold line to the edge. Measure another finger’s width above and make another cut at the same angle. Repeat along the wrap (you should get 6-8 strips)

Kay and Kate have explained how to fold the tortilla and make their apple strudel recipe. Step one involves folding it into three sections, left, and step two, pictured right, involves a diagonal cut

3- Open out the wrap and brush the whole thing all over with beaten egg, paying extra attention to the edges, so that they will stick down well when you start folding. Spoon the apple mixture in a line along the middle of the wrap

3- Open out the wrap and brush the whole thing all over with beaten egg, paying extra attention to the edges, so that they will stick down well when you start folding. Spoon the apple mixture in a line along the middle of the wrap

4 - Fold the top and bottom of the wrap in. Starting at the end closest to you, fold the bottom left strip up towards the top right. Fold the bottom right strip over towards the top left. Alternate the remaining strips until all the filling is enclosed

4 - Fold the top and bottom of the wrap in. Starting at the end closest to you, fold the bottom left strip up towards the top right. Fold the bottom right strip over towards the top left. Alternate the remaining strips until all the filling is enclosed

Step three, left, sees the wrap brushed with beaten egg and step four, right, is when it is then folded over the filling

CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIRS (SPECIAL OCCASION)

Freezable 

Many people would immediately dismiss choux pastry as too much of an indulgence. However, using reduced-fat spread and sweetener makes a huge dent in calories. 

With just a hint of chocolate and squirty cream, these are the ultimate in sweet treats.

The delicious chocolate eclair, pictured, recipe only takes 10 minutes to cook and contains reduced-fat spread

The delicious chocolate eclair, pictured, recipe only takes 10 minutes to cook and contains reduced-fat spread

The delicious chocolate eclair, pictured, recipe only takes 10 minutes to cook and contains reduced-fat spread

Makes 10 l Prep time 10 mins l Cooking time 1 hour l 109kcal per serving

½tsp salt

2tbsp granulated sweetener

100g (3½oz) reduced-fat spread

150ml (¼pt) cold water

100g (3½oz) self-raising flour

2 large eggs

25g (1oz) dark chocolate chips

10tbsp reduced-fat aerosol cream

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Put the salt, sweetener, spread and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 

As soon as the mixture reaches the boil, take the pan off the heat and gradually beat in the flour. The mixture will look lumpy at first, but persevere. 

Continue to beat until the mixture forms a ball of dough and comes away from the sides of the saucepan. Add the eggs and beat well to incorporate. 

It will look as though the mixture has split at first, but continue to beat until it becomes glossy.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle. Pipe 10 éclairs onto the lined baking tray, each around 12cm long. Dab any ‘tails’ down with a wet finger and bake for 40 minutes. 

After this time, check to see if the éclairs sound hollow when tapped, and are crisp and a deep golden colour. They may need up to 60 minutes depending on your oven. 

Do not open the oven before 40 minutes, not even for a sneaky peek – they are likely to collapse and you’ll end up with pancakes!

When the éclairs are cooked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze them at this point, prior to filling.)

When they are completely cool, cut lengthways through three-quarters of each éclair. Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave. 

Squirt 1tbsp cream into each split éclair. (Only fill them when you are ready to serve – aerosol cream doesn’t keep its shape very long once squirted.) Drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops. Serve immediately. 

TIRAMISU (SPECIAL OCCASION) 

This tiramisu is a fabulous yet speedy way to bring a sumptuous end to any dinner party or evening meal. Using a few simple ingredient swaps keeps it light, but it’s still rich with coffee flavour. 

The ricotta adds a creaminess, and it’s finished off with a chocolate topping.

Tiramisu, pictured, uses a few simple ingredients and should be left to chill for around 10 minutes, or until ready to serve

Tiramisu, pictured, uses a few simple ingredients and should be left to chill for around 10 minutes, or until ready to serve

Tiramisu, pictured, uses a few simple ingredients and should be left to chill for around 10 minutes, or until ready to serve

Serves 4 l Prep time 10 mins (plus chilling time) l No cooking l 108kcal per serving

150g (5½oz) ricotta

2tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

2tsp granulated sweetener

8 sponge fingers, each broken into 3 pieces

100ml (3½fl oz) strong espresso, cooled

1tbsp cocoa powder

Put the ricotta, vanilla bean paste and granulated sweetener in a bowl and mix until smooth.

Place 3 sponge finger pieces into the base of each of 4 ramekins (125ml). Drizzle 2tsp espresso into each ramekin and crush the sponge down to cover the bases. 

Top with a layer of ricotta mix, then add 3 more sponge finger pieces to each ramekin, placing them towards the edges of the ramekin. There is no need to crush these down.

Add another little drizzle of espresso to each and top with the remaining ricotta mix. Place the cocoa powder in a sieve and generously dust it over each tiramisu. Chill for around 10 minutes, or until ready to serve.  

Extracted from Pinch Of Nom by Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson, published by Bluebird, £20. © Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson 2019. 

To buy a copy for £16 (20% discount) go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. Offer valid until 11/05/2019, p&p is free. Spend £30 on books and get free premium delivery. Photography by Mike English.








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