IN an ideal world, Nadia Sawalha would have banished the word ‘diet’ from the cover of her latest cookbook.

But, says the author of Greedy Girl’s Diet, there are certain rules that must be followed for marketing purposes.

“You need that word so people can find the book,” explains the presenter, who won Celebrity Masterchef in 2007.

“But I really believe that if you think you are on a diet, you are going to stuff your face at some point. Unless you can feel like a normal person who sometimes eats a pudding and has a bit too much to drink, you will not succeed.”

The 48-year-old says a constant state of “dieting and denial” that resulted in her being obese.

“I did every single diet out there. The Atkins was the worst experience of my life. I call the Dukan diet ‘Du-can’t’ because I don’t believe anyone can do it. It was horrendous.

“I tried the grapefruit diet and was constipated like you wouldn’t believe. I did all of them, so how come I wasn’t thin?”

Eventually, she decided to eat as normally as possible (breakfast and pudding are key components of her day) and simply shave off the hidden calories here and there, as well as eating enough to fuel an active lifestyle. As a result, Sawalha shed three-and-a-half stone and is now a healthy size 12.

“The cookbook is literally about what I ate when I lost weight, and hopefully you can’t tell the difference with the recipes. Even my husband lost two stone and we didn’t even know he was overweight!

“With spaghetti bolognaise for instance, I wouldn’t glug the olive oil to fry the onions in, I would just pour in a tablespoon of olive oil. Most diet books would use a teaspoon of oil. No thank you! I am going to be depressed if I only use a teaspoon.

“I go so far as to say I used to be a total slave. If I added up the years I have lost in time and talking about my weight and thinking about what I should and shouldn’t eat, I could have watched every movie ever made and I could have read a thousand books.”

Raspberry and chocolate mousse pots


(Serves 4)
75g dark chocolate
2 large organic egg whites
1tbsp caster sugar
4tbsp reduced-fat creme fraiche
350g raspberries

Break up the chocolate into a
heatproof bowl set over a pan of
barely simmering water, ensuring the
water doesn’t touch the bowl.
Stir the chocolate until it melts. Once
it has melted, set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric whisk,
whisk the egg whites until stiff. Slowly
add the sugar and whisk again until
stiff. Place the creme fraiche in a bowl
and stir in the cooled chocolate.
Gently fold in the egg white mixture.
Divide the raspberries between four
individual pots and top with the
chocolate mousse.
Pop into the fridge for four hours to set.


Sinless spaghetti bolognaise


(Serves 4)
1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
400g minced turkey or leanminced beef
1tbsp tomato puree
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g mushrooms, chopped
2 bay leaves
200g wholewheat spaghetti
2tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large
heavy-based pan and fry the
onion and garlic over a low
heat until soft. Add the celery
and carrots, reduce the heat
and cook until soft. Remove
the veg from the pan, put in the
minced turkey or beef and fry
over a medium heat until lightly
browned. Return vegetables to
the pan, add the tomato puree
and stir for a minute. Pour in
the tomatoes, bring to the
bubble, season with salt and
pepper and stir in mushrooms
and bay leaves. Simmer gently
for 30 minutes. Meanwhile,
cook the spaghetti according to
instructions. Drain the
spaghetti, toss it with the sauce
and grate the Parmesan over.