Don’t give up all the treats – winter is still here

After all the eating and drinking over the festive period, our immediate reaction to is go on a diet as soon as we are back at work in January.

However, winter is still here, it’s cold, damp and the daylight hours are short. Cut back on food, by all means, but don’t dispense with all comfort eating.

My approach is to eat smaller portions and to try and stick to lower fat options in the aftermath of the festivities, but still build in the option for a heart-warming treat – we all need something delicious to help us along.

Look at keeping the calories down in your main meal, that way you can still have a decent sized portion.

A fish dish with a delicious mashed potato topping baked in the oven is healthy and nourishing, yet still provides comfort.

Similarly, a dish such as kedgeree, with its spices, smoked haddock and boiled egg, is low in fat but is filling and warming.

A sweet treat shouldn’t be ruled out either, otherwise the dark January days will seem even less appealing.

Bananas are good for you, and are filling and satisfying. Try mixing them with low-fat yoghurt rather than cream to make a swift banana fool to round off a meal.

The recipe below is ideal as a healthy pudding for a dinner party. It looks glamorous, but is low in fat. You can serve it with cream or ice cream if you want to push the boat out, but a low-fat alternative will do the trick nicely too.

If you can’t get hold of blood oranges, ordinary oranges are fine, although the dramatic colour might lose its intensity.

The Grand Marnier adds a welcome exotic touch to the depths of winter.

Blood orange terrine

12 blood oranges

Gelatine or alternative gelling agent

Sugar to taste

Grand Marnier, also to taste, and optional


Segment the oranges ( i.e. peel and cut out the segments with a sharp knife, which will ensure that you leave the pith behind), into a colander over a bowl to catch the orange juice. Measure the juice and heat gently, adding your chosen gelling agent ( they all suggest different amounts on the packets). Sweeten to taste with sugar, and finish with a splash of Grand Marnier.

Line a terrine mould with cling film and add a layer of the jelly mixture, lay the segments over the top and continue until your mould is full of jelly and segmented layers. Lay a sheet of cling film over the top to push out any air bubbles and place in the fridge to set over night.

The next day turn out and slice, using a smooth, sharp knife. Serve with cream, ice cream, passion fruit sorbet, or low-fat yoghurt.