From the Archive: Nigella Lawson’s New Year’s Cleanup


Likewise, if you are someone who at to eat ice cream buy individual 100ml boxes of Loseley Farm. There’s no way anyone could give themselves that amount of ice cream in a large tub and feel anything but private – it would barely cover the bottom of the bowl – but when that’s a whole serving, it somehow makes more sense.

Cooked meals are a help, but they can never replace real food. On the other hand, simple grilled foods can get boring, and eating low fat foods that taste low in fat is of limited appeal. There are alternatives. Here is some.

Curry vegetables

This is a recipe from Sue Kreitzman’s Low Fat Vegetarian Cookbook, which is so virtuous that I consider it more like food that doesn’t count, food that reduces to zero, so to speak. I don’t cook it for others; that’s what I keep to myself to balance a week of strenuous outings or overeating at home. The amount given here is enough for six huge portions, which I freeze individually and thaw as needed. If I’m very strict, I just eat it with a raita (from the same book) made with the best, lowest-fat fresh cheese, chopped spring onions, grated fresh ginger, and chopped mint and cilantro. If on a middle route I add plain couscous, or feel like I have nothing to fix, I buy a hot and sweet nan from my local Indian takeout to soak up the aromatic juices. This recipe is, I admit, time consuming and laborious, but it’s the low-fat culinary equivalent of a key text.


  • 2 large onions, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ground cardamom and ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • About 600 ml of broth
  • 3 bell peppers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 350 g button mushrooms, cut in half or in quarters
  • 2 medium white turnips, cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 large cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 small parsnip cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into quarters and into 1 cm pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into 1 cm pieces
  • Salt
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 225 green beans, cut into 1 cm pieces


Put the onion pieces, garlic, spices and 300 ml of broth in a heavy-based saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil and boil for 5-7 minutes. Uncover and stir in the peppers, carrots and mushrooms. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer, stirring frequently, until the vegetables and spices are “fried” in their own juices and the vegetables are tender. Let cool slightly. Puree half of the mixture in a blender or food processor, then return the purée to the pot. Add the turnip, cauliflower, parsnip, fennel and celery. Mix well. Add almost enough broth to cover the contents of the pot, salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover, squeeze out the lemon juice and add the zucchini and beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Mushroom risotto

A low fat risotto might sound suspicious, but this one works because of the depth of the intense, mushroom flavor. Risotto is best made for two people, as it requires constant attention and should be served immediately. I often cook it when I have a girlfriend for lunch or dinner, and I cook it while we talk. I specified Marks & Spencer’s Packaged Mushrooms as it can be difficult to find loose wild mushrooms and the fact that there is already butter in the package (usually around 18g) means you don’t have to. not to buy a whole and tempting package of it.


  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • Marks & Spencer Mushroom Mix
  • 112g of arborio rice
  • 75 ml white wine
  • 375 ml of broth
  • 14g parmesan, freshly grated parsley


In a small frying pan or medium saucepan, melt the garlic hazelnuts and herb butter from the Unfortunate Name Mushroom Medley package in a skillet. (If you feel the need for extreme restraint, use only one tap and discard the other, at once.) Sauté the onion gently in the butter until tender but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine and let the rice soak up. Add a ladle of hot broth and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding ladles and stir over low to medium heat until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice is creamy and just cooked through but still firm to the bite. Stir in the Parmesan and chop a little fresh parsley on it.

Crab Linguine

This is one of the few recipes that is really good enough to be served without any excuse or excuse. You could do it for dinner. Crab meat is so intensely fragrant that fat is not required to give it depth. The recipe may seem like an Italian dish, but that’s not the intention: the flavors are really borrowed from Thai and Korean crab cakes, but they make for a wonderfully resonant pasta sauce. Frozen, thawed crabmeat can be used if you cannot cool off. Don’t worry about the small amount this recipe makes – the pasta should be dressed, not smothered, in the sauce. If the scarcity of the fat is irrelevant, I would add a little more oil right after the pasta is tossed into the sauce to add shine and lubrication, but it’s still nice without.


  • 300g linguine or other long pasta
  • 75 g brown crab meat
  • 90g white crab meat
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced ​​with seeds
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 200 ml white wine
  • Fresh coriander (¼ bunch or ½ envelope in supermarket bag)
  • Grated zest 1 lime
  • Lime juice splash
  • Fresh parsley


Add water for the pasta. When almost boiling, add salt, then start the sauce. Sweat the garlic, chili, half the cilantro, half the lime zest and spring onions in olive oil until softened. Add the brown crab meat and white wine and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reduces and thickens to an almost muddy texture.

While the sauce is reducing, start cooking the pasta. It is better if the sauce is ready before the pasta rather than the other way around. A few minutes before cooking the pasta, stir in the white crab meat and the remaining half of cilantro and lime zest into the dark meat mixture. Pour a drop or two of lime juice into the sauce. Just before draining the pasta, dip a cup in it and fill it with the pasta cooking water. Add a little cooking water if the sauce needs help to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with parsley.


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