I’m taking a break from the 5-2 Challenge this week. Third week of the school holidays and we’re going away. As flexible as this eating plan may be, there is no way I’m adhering to two restrictive 500 calorie fast days. Today, wanting to use up the contents of my fruit bowl, I made up a deliciously chunky Blueberry and Apple Compote. Sweet and healthy. Jam-packed with antioxidants and very, very good for you. Layered with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a smattering of granola it made a very satisfying breakfast.
A quick tally of the calories, it’s almost become second nature (sad I know), and it soon becomes apparent this breakfast compote qualifies beautifully for the 5-2 challenge. Only 158 calories all up; 103 for the compote, an additional 20 calories per tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and 35 calories per tablespoon of granola. Of course always check the packaging for these add ins as calorie count across brands can vary wildly.
To keep the calorie count of the compote low, and flavour impact high, I used a tablespoon of pure maple syrup for sweetness and popped a vanilla bean pod into the pot as the fruit simmered away. A pleasant revelation. Vanilla bean pods impart bags of flavour for zero calories. Who knew? It take the crown for my new favourite ingredient.
I’ve always loved using fresh vanilla bean pods for my baking, custards and ice cream making. The most intense vanilla flavour is found in the tiny black seeds scraped from the inside of the bean. After the first use the pods retain a great deal of flavour so after a thorough wash and dry, I like to bury them in a jar of caster sugar. Instant vanilla sugar. A temporary home for my coveted vanilla beans until they make it to their final resting place. My fruit compote.
Blueberry and Apple Compote
Serves 4 (103 calories per serve)
4 small or 3 medium sized granny smith apples (about 500g or 4 cups), peeled and cored (260 calories)
1 lemon, juice and long, thinly peeled strips of rind (12 calories)
1 vanilla bean pod, split (0 calories)
100 ml water (0 calories)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (85 calories)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (52 calories)
QUARTER the peeled and cored apples, then slice each quarter in half again into bite sized chunks.
PLACE in a saucepan with the freshly squeezed juice and long strips of the thinly peeled rind of 1 lemon.
ADD 100ml water and the vanilla bean pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until apples are just tender.
STIR in the blueberries and maple syrup. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes depending upon the softness of the texture you want, stirring occasionally.
REMOVE and discard the strips of lemon rind and the vanilla pod. Serve compote warm or cold. It will keep well in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, if it lasts that long.