Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dull! Bake Off judge Prue Leith shares her scrumptious and nutritious recipes

  • TV chef teams up with Diabetes UK on healthy eating campaign
  • She shares her Ajiaco Colombian chicken and potato soup recipe
  • Recipes for Thai cod cakes and frozen yoghurt cake complete the menu
  • The aim is to show the nation that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring
  • Prue says parents must show some ‘tough love’  in the child obesity battle

Claudia Tanner For Mailonline

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A healthy diet can help you prevent, control, and even reverse diabetes – but feeling denied can hamper even the best intentions. 

And so celebrity chef Prue Leith has offered a little inspiration by exclusively sharing with MailOnline a simple, healthy and mouthwatering meal plan.

The 77-year-old – who is to pick up Mary Berry’s mantle as the new Channel 4 Bake Off judge – is backing Diabetes UK’s campaign to show the nation that eating healthy doesn’t have to be dull. 

Prue’s Ajiaco Colombian chicken and potato soup would be perfect teamed with some thai cod cakes with chilli dipping sauce as a starter and a frozen yogurt layer cake for dessert, which are examples of a number of tasty recipes featured on the charity’s website.

So whether you are diabetic or you just enjoy good healthy food, this feast is ideal as it’s low in fat, sugar and salt.

Prue is also urging people to learn to cook – and she says the onus is on parents to tackle the obesity crisis in children.

Prue says you don’t have to let diabetes stand between you and your favourite food

‘It’s tough to eat well if you don’t know how to cook,’ she said. ‘The problem is that so many people just don’t like what’s good for them, which is basically veg.

‘The way to get to like good food is by learning to cook, which is why I’m for ever banging on about children learning to cook.

‘If your child just won’t eat their vegetables, set a good example, for a start. And start them young – a six month old will put anything in his or her mouth. And keep trying. 

‘It takes several doses of any veg before children like it, but once they do they’ll like it for life. 

‘You wouldn’t give up on a child who didn’t want to learn to read. Learning to eat is every bit as important.’

The chef-turned-author – who has a son and daughter – revealed she was fairly strict about eating habits when she brought up her children.

‘I just never offered them junk. No snacks between meals. Very few sweets or ice creams. We didn’t have a deep fryer, and so on,’ she said.

‘But I wasn’t rigid about it. If a friend brought them sweets I’d let them have them. Easter was a chocolate fest.

‘My grandchildren love cooking, and it doesn’t have to be sweet things. 

‘Although we did make stripey jelly the other day – layered up coloured jellies all made from fresh fruit juice.’

She says her favourite ‘go-to’ healthy meal is a smoked salmon sandwich and her healthy swap tip is a blob of yogurt in soup or fruit salad instead of cream. 

STARTER 

Thai cod cakes with chilli dipping sauce: Runny honey provides natural sweetness in the dish

No matter how hard we try and eat healthily, we all need to tuck into a warm plate of comfort food now and again – and what better way to satisfy this craving than with these Thai cod cakes? 

A 153g serving contains 5.8g of sugar and 0.7g of saturated fat.

THAI COD CAKES WITH CHILLI DIPPING SAUCE 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

450g fresh cod 

2 tbsp red Thai curry paste 

1 egg yolk 

75g French beans, finely sliced 

3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

1 tbsp oil 

Zest of 1 lime 

For the chilli dipping sauce:

 1 tbsp runny honey

 1 tbsp chilli sauce

Juice of 1 lime 

 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper 

Method: 

1. Place the cod, curry paste and egg yolk into a food processor or blender and blend until combined.

2. Stir through the French beans, coriander and lime zest.

3. Form the mixture into 12 patties and season well.

4. Brush the patties with a little oil.

5. Preheat the grill. Place on a baking sheet and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden.

6. Mix together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and serve with the fish cakes.

MAIN   

Ajiaco Colombian chicken and potato soup: This hearty dish is bursting with flavour

Almost every country has their own version of chicken soup – Colombia’s really packs a punch with Guasca leaves adding a rich taste.

AJIACO – COLOMBIAN CHICKEN AND POTATO SOUP

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 large chicken 

4 pts chicken stock 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 lb small new or salad potatoes scrubbed

 3 medium Maris Piper, peeled and sliced (optional)

Small teacup of dried Guasca leaves.

6 corn on the cob, cut into chunks

4 Spring onions, cut into pieces

1 teacup fresh coriander leaves 

For serving:

1/3 pint double cream 

1/2 jar small capers, rinsed well and drained  

3-4 ripe avocados 

Method: 

1. Put the chicken in a large pan with the stock and the garlic. Bring to a boil.

2. Simmer for 50 minutes or until the chicken thigh feels tender when pierced and the leg will wobble. Lift out the chicken and set aside.

3. When cool enough to handle remove the skin and bones and cut the flesh into large chunks (use a sharp knife and cut the breast against the grain – don’t shred into stringy bits). Cover the chicken with an upturned bowl while you continue with the soup.

4. Into the stock put both types of potato and the guascas. Cook until the Maris Piper are breaking up, about 20 mins.

5. Then add the corn chunks and cook for 10 mins. Add the Spring onions and coriander leaves. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper and ground sea salt to taste.

6. Return the chicken to the pan and reheat gently.

7. Serve each person, making sure they get liquid, chicken, corn and soup. Serve the Ajiaco hot with capers, heavy cream and avocado slices on the side. 

DESSERT 

Frozen yoghurt layer cake: This dessert is vegetarian and nut and free of any gluten

Layers of fruit yogurt make a colourful, delicious frozen rainbow cake. 

Use fat-free natural yoghurt and a 104g serving will contain just 0.1g of saturated fat and 9.1g of sugar.

FROZEN YOGHURT LAYER CAKE 

Serves 12

Ingredients:

250g frozen mixed berries 

450g virtually fat-free natural yogurt 

2 tbsp granulated sweetener  

250g mango flesh chopped, peeled

300g kiwi fruit flesh (about 3-4), peeled  

Method: 

1. Add a quarter of the frozen berries to the bottom of a 2lb loaf tin or cake t

2. Blend the rest of the berries with 150g yogurt and 1 tbsp of sweetener, then spread it over the berries in the base of the tin. 

3. Level with a spatula and place in the freezer, ensuring the tin is level, and leave for 1-1.5 hours.

4. Blend the mango with 200g yogurt then spread on top of the berries. Return the tin to the freezer, again making sure it is level. 

5. Freeze for another hour or two, until solid.

6. Blend the kiwi with 100g yoghurt and 1 tbsp of sweetener, then add to the top layer, spreading it evenly over the mango. 

7. Cover with cling film, then freeze for a least 2 hours or overnight.

8. Remove from the freezer for 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate and slicing. 

Sign up to see free recipe videos and more from Diabetes UK here between 22 May to 30 July. 

Prue’s latest book, The Prodigal Daughter, is out now published by Quercus.

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