Pull Up A Chair And Make Yourself Comfortable!
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Comfort Food Without The Calories



Who says the end of winter has to be gloomy?

Yes it might be cold (although I concede not everywhere in the world), it might mean money is tight after the holiday period, and it might mean your weight-loss efforts or maintenance regime is challenging when days are short. But if you treat it as a time of calm when you conserve your energy and tuck into some real comfort food then you can find some deserved contentment at this time of year.

And so this newsletter issue brings you some feel-good comfort food without any hassle and specially developed and tested to bring great nutrition at little calorie cost. Each recipe featured will be soothing, tasty, bariatric-friendly and like a big warm hug at any time of the day.

There's a tomato soup that tastes just like an old-time canned favourite; a one-dish speedy chicken roast that welcomes Spring but gives a nod to tradition and the need for a warming main meal; a lightly spiced vegetable tagine for those who are going meat-free or watching the purse strings; a real star of a recipe that I confidently call the Ultimate Bariatric Shepherd's Pie; and finally a superbly comforting fruit crumble with a toffee apple base and a super-high-protein topping.


On the Menu:
'Comfort in a Cup' Tomato Soup
One-Pan Spring Roast Chicken
The Ultimate Bariatric Shepherd's Pie
Spiced Vegetable Tagine with Chickpeas
Toffee Apple Bariatric Crumble

I have been excited about trying this soup ever since it was mentioned to me by a friend from my old 'fatty' club where it has been doing the rounds. I was told it would taste like the Heinz cream of tomato soup I used to turn to when a comforting bowl of soup was required pre-WLS, and it does! I've tweaked it a little but can guarantee that it isn't high in fat, has loads of protein, is made in a trice, and tastes sublime. Don't however be tempted to forgo the pickled onions they are essential for getting the right flavour.

Here you see it in one of our 
Portion, Cook and Serve Bariatric Cups. The plain variation is gorgeous but if you fancy something a bit different stir in some chopped Mediterranean herbs. It's surprisingly good cold as well as hot or warm (a great substitute for Gazpacho perhaps in the summer months).
410 g/14 oz can reduced sugar baked beans in tomato sauce
2 x 400 g/14 oz cans chopped tomatoes in natural juice
400 g/14 oz can sliced or whole baby carrots (DO NOT DRAIN)
2 large or 6 small pickled onions
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
300 ml/11/4 cups water
1 vegetable stock/bouillon cube
salt and ground black pepper

1.  Heat the beans, tomatoes, carrots with their juice, pickled onions, Worcestershire sauce, water, stock/bouillon cube and salt and pepper to taste in a large pan until well mixed and blended.
2.  Remove from the heat and either puree until smooth with a stick blender or transfer to a blender in batches and puree until smooth.
3.  Reheat as required for serving hot or warm. The soup can also be served cold or chilled if preferred.

WLS: 1/2
V suitable for Vegetarians

FAT: 1.3g
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Taking just 5 minutes to prepare before you pop it in the oven, this full-of-flavour one-pan chicken recipe is sure to become a spring time favourite. We already have new season asparagus for sale in the UK so the timing of this dish is spot-on. It really is a comforting roast in one dish that makes an ideal family meal. We have left the skin on the chicken thighs for the pic below but you can remove before of after cooking as liked.

700 g/11/2 lb new potatoes, halved
low-fat cooking spray or mist
8 chicken thighs, skin removed if liked
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6.
2.  Generously spritz a large ovenproof dish with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Add the potatoes and tuck the chicken thighs between them with the garlic and rosemary. Generously spritz again with the low-fat cooking spray or mist. Drizzle with the juice of half of the lemon. Roast for 50 minutes.
3.  Add the asparagus to the dish and season to taste. Toss the dish so that the asparagus nestles in amongst the chicken and potatoes. Cook for a further 8 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
4. Pick out the roasted garlic and squeeze the now melting centres into a small bowl, add the juice from the remaining lemon and season well. Mash the garlic into the lemon with a fork then drizzle the mixture over the chicken and vegetables in the dish. Serve hot.

CALORIES (without skin): 385
PROTEIN (without skin): 40.1g
CARBOHYDRATE (without skin): 33.2g
FAT (without skin): 11.1g

It may seem a tad over the top to call this pie recipe 'the ultimate' one but it is seriously the best to date! It has all the flavour of my previous very popular Herder's Pie (in 'Return to Slender' cookery book) but this time has a superb creamy low-carb topping that rivals a potato mash any day. Indeed I have served this without mentioning the new topping and no one has queried it. It is arguably richer and tastier than the classic potato topping and is loaded with additional protein into the bargain - a win! win! in my reckoning.

To get the ideal serving size for serving after WLS bake in a
Portion, Cook and Serve Bariatric Cup as we have done in the pic below or use a small ramekin or baking dish of the correct portion size. 
1 medium cauliflower, cut into large pieces (about 4-6 cups)
2 tsp olive oil
2 x 300 g/11oz cans cooked white beans (cannellini or haricot for example), drained and rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
700 g/11/2 lb lean minced/ground beef (or use minced/ground turkey or lamb if preferred)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes in rich tomato juice or 500 g/1 lb carton passata (smooth crushed tomatoes)
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp tomato paste
I beef stock/bouillon cube
sliced tomatoes (optional)

1.  Place the cauliflower in a pan and add sufficient water to just cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well then transfer to a blender with the oil, beans and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.
2.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 C/300 F/gas mark 2.
3.  Cook the minced/ground beef in a non-stick, ovenproof pan until browned. Dry fry or spray the pan with a little low-fat cooking spray or just a smear of oil if necessary. Add the onion and garlic if used and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until softened.
4.  Add the tomatoes or passata, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, stock/bouillon cube and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well. Cook for 5 minutes.
5.  Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour, then increase the oven temperature to 200 C/400 F/gas
mark 6.
6.  Transfer the beef mixture to a suitable ovenproof dish or divide and spoon equally into the bariatric portion cups (or individual baking dishes) and top with the prepared cauliflower and bean mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes if liked.
7.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until tinged golden. Serve hot.

PROTEIN: 33.1g

FAT: 7.9g



This spicy root vegetable and chickpea stew can be made with any cheap carrots and parsnips (and a great way of using some mis-shapen ones from the new 'wonky veg' boxes now on sale at a discounted price). I have used ras el hanoot spice since it is authentically aromatic with mace, clove, turmeric and rosebud overtones but a simple baharat spice blend (or mix of your own) will be just as good. Flatbreads make a good accompaniment for those who can tolerate and non-wls diners. This recipe serves 2 normal portions but can be doubled or trebled as liked.
drizzle of oil or low-fat cooking spray or mist
1 onion, sliced
300 g/11 oz carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
300 g/11 oz parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp baharat or ras el hanout spice mix or blend
500 ml/21/4 cups vegetable stock/bouillon
400 g/14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges and flatbread, to serve (optional)

1.  Heat the oil if used in a pan or generously spritz a pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist and heat. Add the onion, carrots and parsnips and cook, over a low heat, until slightly softened and the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add the garlic and spice mix and cook for a further 1 minute.
3.  Add the stock/bouillon, chickpeas, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4.  Stir in the parsley and serve with warmed flatbreads and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

V suitable for Vegetarians

CALORIES: 360 (without flatbread)
PROTEIN: 15.4g
FAT: 6.8g


Hands up who doesn't like crumble? Not many, and I'm willing to be that this one might just persuade a few doubters that they do. Made with an apple, cinnamon and orange base, it is topped with a great bariatric topping of oats and almonds with vanilla protein powder. This is the first recipe I have tried with coconut oil too and I have to say I am delighted with the results but do substitute  another oil or with low-fat spread if preferred. The sweetener can also be changed too - if you prefer to use honey, maple syrup or another artificial sweetener then go ahead. Nutritional stats given refer to the products used in the ingredients, yours might differ if you use substitutions. Spoons at the ready!
3 large apples (baking or eating or mixture), peeled, cored and chopped
11/2 tsp honey, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener (I used low-calorie Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp coconut oil
juice of 1/2 small orange
Protein Crumble Topping:
25 g/1 oz vanilla protein powder (I used The Slender Blend from Protein World)
100 g/1 cup porridge oats
25 g/1/4 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp coconut oil
11/2 tsp honey, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener (I used low-calorie Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup)

1.  Preheat the oven to 170 C/325F/gas mark 3.
2.  Place the apples, sweetener, cinnamon, coconut oil and orange juice for the base in a pan and cook until the liquid starts to caramelise and the apples soften. Spoon into a baking dish.
3.  Meanwhile, mix the protein powder with the oats and almonds. Add the coconut oil and rub together with the fingertips to make a light crumble topping. Sprinkle on top of the apple base.
4.  Bake until the crumble topping is lightly browned - this may only take about 5 minutes and do check frequently because it can colour very quickly! Serve warm with low-fat and reduced sugar custard, yogurt or low-fat ice cream as liked and tolerated.

V suitable for Vegetarians
FAT: 14.1g
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Support and Comfort

You should feel comfortable and supported at every stage of  your weight-loss journey after surgery which is why it is important to choose your team wisely and seek out their support groups. Our Newsletter sponsors Ramsay Healthcare offer support groups alongside their consultations and after-care schedule. They also offer seminars for finding out more about what WLS entails. If you're interested then see below ...

With Ramsay Weight Loss Surgery your care doesn't end when your surgery does. Whether you are finding certain things difficult and would like advice, or if you have been highly successful with your weight loss efforts, the support groups at RWLS offer a positive, supportive and motivating environment in which to discuss and learn from your experiences. For more information or to book a place on our support groups call: 0808 278 1276

Support Group Schedule 

All meetings start at 6.00pm – 7.30pm unless otherwise stated



Ashtead Hospital, Surrey   -  Tuesday 23 February
Fitzwilliam, Peterborough -  Monday 29 February
March and April dates to be announced very shortly - check below
Details here

'Comfort In A Cup' Tomato Soup - copyright of Bariatric Cookery http://www.bariatriccookery.com
One-Pan Spring Roast Chicken - http://www.british-asparagus.co.uk
The Ultimate Bariatric Shepherd's Pie - copyright of Bariatric Cookery http://www.bariatriccookery.com
Spiced Vegetable Tagine With Chickpeas - http://www.waitrose.com
Toffee Apple Crumble - http://www.proteinworld.com

Copyright © 2016 Bariatric Cookery, All rights reserved.

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