As soon as we are back at work after the festivities are over, the food and alcohol remorse kicks in, and we do our best to give everything up.

The problem is, January and February are still dark and dreary, so it isn’t the best time of year to deny yourself treats or go on a strict diet.

Sensible eating, with comfort food to keep you going is a better solution, I feel. Cut back on snacks between meals, and calorie-laden dinners, but don’t feel bad about enjoying food, or the occasional lapse. Too punitive a regime, and you’ll soon be reaching for the biscuit tin when the winter gloom overwhelms you.

It’s also a myth that all comfort food is fattening. A good, hearty stew made with venison, for instance, and served with boiled potatoes and steamed vegetables, is nourishing and feels satisfying. Similarly, a vegetarian risotto made with mushrooms or asparagus, and served with a with a salad, hits the spot without piling on the pounds.

This take on a Sunday roast uses venison, which is low in fat. Roast vegetables compliment it beautifully, but vegetables such as kale and carrots can be steamed for a lower calorie option.

Roast saddle of venison

Serves 6

1 saddle venison (about 2kg)

Generous knob of butter

2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

125mls red wine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220oC or Gas Mark 7.

Season the saddle with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in the roasting pan and seal the saddle on all sides (this helps keep the flavours in).

Roast over a high heat for 15-20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160oC. Add the red wine and rosemary. Once back to temperature the meat can be roasted for about ten minutes per 500g for a rare roast, and 15 minutes per 500g for a less pink finish.

Baste the meat regularly, and add more liquid if necessary. Venison is not high in fat, so it needs some help to prevent it drying out.

Another option would be to cover the roast in plain bacon to add flavour and keep the moisture in.

When the meat is cooked remove it from the oven and wrap in foil and leave to rest for ten minutes before serving. Serve with roast or steamed seasonal vegetables, and mashed, roast or boiled potatoes.