Bust The Gut Rut With Leaf

Resident cooking guru LEAF ARBUTHNOT transforms the five-a-day from chore to treat and chases the pounds away.

carrots caugettes cooking fat fruit healthy heavy leaf Leaf Arbuthnot light lose weight lunch New Year red cabbage slim veg vegetables vegetarian veggies weight

Tradition has it that in the New Year, the people of Britain find themselves a little sturdier than before Yule. Trousers look shorter, b/moobs feel heavier, cheeks seem more jolly.

Extra robustness should be embraced, of course, wherever possible. If you can smile back at the friendly face you can make out of your stomach rolls, then knock yourself out. How super. Alternatively, if you have by some miracle managed to stay trim this Christmas, also well done. I could hardly be more thrilled for you.

However, for some, the laissez-fat attitude is not conducive to self-confidence or happiness. The solution is rarely a New Year diet, but I tentatively suggest more frequent ganders round the fruit/vegetable aisles. Here are some easy recipes to transform your greens into desirable plate-occupiers.

1. Courgettes
Using a potato peeler, peel two large courgettes length-ways into delicate and  beautiful curls, using the entire vegetable.

Add a teaspoon of salt. Fry the courgettes with a little butter and 3 minced-up cloves of garlic. At the very end, add pesto/crème fraîche to taste.

2. Carrots
Boil up some coined carrots until ready to eat. Drain off the water and add a handful of raisins, chopped coriander, a little sugar and an orange, cut into chunks. Stir above heat till warmed through.

3. Red cabbage
Red cabbage and apple are good together, but I find apples a bit too sharp so sometimes use pears instead.

Slice a small red cabbage into strips, avoiding the hard centre. Fry a chopped onion in some butter slowly, till soft. Add the cabbage, a tiny bit of nutmeg, about 2 spoons of sugar (ideally brown), and about half a cup of red wine vinegar, with a cup of water. Add in two peeled and chopped pears. Simmer for an hour or so.