Hearty Roast Dinner with 5:2 Leftovers

Do you like roasts?! Of course you do. If you don't like a roast of some kind, I recommend seeking professional help; clearly there is something fundamentally erroneous in your biological make up.

I'm trying to eat the contents of my freezer at the moment as it's in dire need of defrosting. This is also a rather economical way of feasting, and I haven't bought any food in at least a week. I think... It's definitely been ages by my standards. Anyway, there were a couple of game birds languishing at the back, so I decided to unearth and defrost the biggest of the tarts. It took me a while to work out if it was a small duck or a large pheasant, as my memory can be shocking and it's been a while since I ventured beyond the frozen peas, but I was delighted to find that it was actually a pheasant. Lovely.

Taking a less traditional approach to my roast- it isn't Sunday after all- I decided to serve my bird with some spiced cauliflower and a cabbage, mint and yoghurt offering. The cabbage serves as a good veggie accompaniment, whilst also being a yoghurt dip to temper the curried cauli. And it makes a bloody brilliant, wet, spicy, yoghurt gravy type creation on the bottom of the plate. Drool. Both of these dishes are incredibly low in calories, so I was certain to make enough for leftovers to serve as today's lunches, as we're finally back on the 5:2. We've been incredibly lazy and are feeling a bit flabby, greedy and sluggish, so we're bringing back discipline and conscious eating. As an added bonus, being on a restriction means I drink more tea, and I really do like going through my tea collection and seeing which lovely leaf and herb mixes I enjoy most without milk. It's amazing how much hunger is dehydration and habit. Mmm...jasmine tea.

Enough rambling, without further ado, I present...the food!

Roast Pheasant, Spiced Cauliflower and Light, Minty 'Slaw
Cleverest name, yet, no? Serves 2 for dinner and lunch

for the pheasant
1 pheasant
a good knob of butter
1 onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, bruised
1/4 orange (optional)
salt & pepper

for the cauliflower
1 1/2 heads of cauliflower, broken into florets and stems chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper
30g flaked almonds (optional)

for the 'slaw
1/2 white cabbage
4 tbsp plain yoghurt (plus extra for serving)
big bunch of mint, finely chopped
1/3 cucumber, finely grated
salt & pepper
60g of raisins (optional)

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 or some modern electrical equivalent.
  2. Pop your onion halves, garlic cloves and and orange into the cavity of your washed bird. Lubricate your game bird by giving her a relaxing massage with buttery hands. Phwoar. Liberally season. Pop her in the oven and let her sweat for a while.
  3. In a large bowl put your cauliflower, oil and spices. Add salt and pepper and rumble it all about until all the cauliflower has a colourful curry coating. Pop on a baking tray- no extra oil necessary- and once your bird has been roasting for 45 minutes, add your cauliflower to the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Slice your cabbage to your desired coleslaw thickness; I like a bit of bite to mine, so you know you've  actually chewed and eaten it.
  5. Pop your mint, cucumber and cabbage into a serving dish, season and swish to incorporate. Add your yoghurt and raisins and stir. Leave in the fridge for a bit.
  6. After 25 minutes of roasting add your almonds to your cauliflower and let roast for 10 more minutes.
  7. Take your bird out and slice nicely. Or decimate if you've got mad knife skills like mine. Serve with your sides, (eating as many of the almonds, raisins and meat as you can with this dinner and leaving lots of veggie goodness for tomorrow's skinny lunch!) and a drizzle of the meat juices on your game bird's meaty bits.

If you're serving your sides as a 5:2 meal make sure you don't overdo the raisins or almonds when making your dish. If you do end up adding in more, be sure to make allowances, as these can bump up the calorie count quite a bit. Also, choose your oil and yoghurt carefully, mine were both quite low on the calorie radar.

200g of cauliflower, as made above, is a good size serving and yields 118.2kcal and only 86 without almonds, and 1 cup o' s 'slaw as made is a teeny 58kcal. I know, right? Sounds unbelievable. I didn't even finish my allowance and made the mistake of turning my back for a second and the dog finished it. Bitch. Literally.

Speaking of dogs, pooch owners can feed the outer leaves from the cauliflower to your four-legged friend. I like to cut them up and quickly simmer them and serve them in the cooking water. She's a bit of a gulper and tends not to chew and this way the thick stems are less of a choking hazard whilst also providing her with some water. Yay. Hydration and non-choking win.


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