Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London

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Lightweight Cottage Pie

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

So I posted my Classic Cottage Pie recipe yesterday (you can view that post here), and it reminded me of a lightweight version of this dish I cooked a month or so ago. This recipe came from the 5:2 diet book, ‘The Fast Diet Recipe Book‘, and it’s a lower calorie version of the classic. The main way this Cottage Pie sheds calories is by switching out the usual potato mash topping with a lighter version of celeriac and leeks, which I thought sounded interesting. And it was! I didn’t really have massive expectations about this dish before cooking it, but it really did impress me when it got to the eating part! So much so that I would happily eat this version instead of the full Classic Cottage Pie if I was in the right mood! The topping was a really nice replacement for the potato (and that’s pretty impressive from me given that I bloody love a potato), and the meat was full of flavour. So, this recipe is tasty AND virtuous. Good stuff!

PS. I apologise for the fact that I don’t have a proper photo of the cottage pie – I forgot to take one, so this is a photo from the book!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10.

Calorie Count: 243 per person

Lightweight Cottage Pie (serves 4)


  • Oil for spraying
  • 250g extra-lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 2 OXO cubes
  • 500g celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 100g half-fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • 2 young leeks, trimmed and sliced (into about pound coin width)


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Spray a large pan with oil and brown the minced beef. Add the diced onion, celery and carrot and allow to soften for 10 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, water and OXO cubes. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil the celeriac until very tender, drain and mash with creme fraiche until as smooth as as you wish.

Heat the oil in a pan and gently saute the leeks, then add them to the celeriac mash; season well.

Pour the beef into a shallow ovenproof dish, and top with the celeriac mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown

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Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm Pittas

Beef Chilli Meatballs in Warm Pittas

Beef Chilli Meatballs in Warm Pittas

One of the other challenges in cooking healthy food is keeping a very meat-loving boyfriend happy too! So last weekend I decided to try and find a happy compromise – hello Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm PittasThere’s beef, there’s chilli, there’s bread. Although I have to admit, there wasn’t a huge volume of any of those items! These portion sizes are teeny weeny, and it’s quite panic-inducing when you see just how small the meatballs are. You make 6 out of 125g of beef so they’re proper wee. But somehow when you add the bread and salsa it isn’t too shabby for a lunch at all. Unfortunately because one of these pittas is 8 Weight Watchers Pro Points I couldn’t really do my usual trick and double up the portion size. But I would do that for Paul in the future – he said that if there were two pittas each he’d have upped his score to 9! Greedy bugger.

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10. Weight Watchers Pro Points: 8 per serving

Chilli Beef Meatballs in Warm Pittas (serves 2)


  • 125g lean beef mince (10% fat)
  • Half small onion, finely chopped
  • 5g Medium Fajita seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or parsley
  • 5 sprays calorie controlled cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Chilli sauce
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium pittas, white or wholemeal
  • Handful of spinach, to serve

For the red onion salsa:

  • Half a small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar


Mix together the beef mince, onion, fajita spice mix and the thyme or parsley. Season and then form the mixture into 6 evenly-sized balls.

Spray a non stick frying pan with cooking spray and add the meatballs. Cook for 12-14 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the sweet chilli sauce and cook for another minute, turning the meatballs over until glossy.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the salsa by combining all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm the pitta breads in a toaster or under the grill. Split open and then fill each one with a few spinach leaves, 3 meatballs and the salsa.