March 23, 2023


This is an adaptation of a recipe in one of my slimming club cook books.  Now that we're back in France my membership has officially lapsed but I'm sticking to the plan as much as is possible in a country where the fat free versions of some things are hard to find.  I brought with me several bottles of low fat cooking spray as I had no idea whether or not you could get that kind of thing here.  I would like to lose a few more pounds but at least put none back on!

The recipe calls for cavolo nero or kale as the greens but I used broccoli as that's what I had.  Now that we're chez nous the supermarkets and other shops are some distance away and you can't guarantee the availability of anything, so cooking what you have in is the way to go.  Another adaptation from the original include using haricots blancs instead of borlotti beans as I had a tin of them in the cupboard.

In the book the recipe is cooked in a slow cooker but also includes instructions for cooking it on the hob.  We had the little French Aga-style of wood burner going to heat the house so I cooked it in that.  The hotplates were boiling it too fast so I transferred it to the oven for the cooking time.  To be honest, cooking anything in the woodburner oven is rather hit and miss as the temperature is not very controllable but if anything a casserole of some kind is what cooks best.  At a push I can cook a shepherd's pie or crumble in it but anything requiring accurate temperature control is a no-no.  I certainly wouldn’t attempt pastry or a cake in it!

It was delicious.  Cooking without lots of oil, or flour to thicken the sauce, is a revelation and definitely the key to losing (or not gaining) weight.  We had ours with no extra veg as there were already plenty in it.  Using just three slim pork steaks it made four generous portions but with a few more veg on the side it would have satisfied the hungriest appetite!  You could of course add other herbs or spices according to how adventurous you feel!

As an aside, I noticed that to use the right kind of tinned tomatoes for the recipe I had to look for "dés" or diced tomatoes.  Diced means chopped and anything else is literally pulp.  You can also get whole tomatoes - entières - just like you would have with your fried breakfast - and chop them yourself.  


3 pork loin steaks or chops, cut into large chunks

a small pack of smoked bacon lardons or 2-3 slices smoked bacon, chopped

low calorie cooking spray (or olive oil)

2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

1 large leek, cleaned and thickly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves plucked and chopped

2 bay leaves

1 vegetable stock pot or cube made up to about 1 pint with boiling water

4-5 medium waxy potatoes

1 200g can chopped tomatoes

1 400g can borlotti beans (or cannellini or any other beans you like) drained and rinsed

1 head of broccoli, cut into medium florets


In a large metal casserole dish or ovenproof saucepan fry the bacon and pork in the oil or spray until brown.  

Add the carrots, leeks, potatoes, herbs and stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour (or transfer to the oven at 170C for 1 hour).  Check after 30 minutes that it is not boiling dry - if so add more hot water.

Stir in the broccoli, tomatoes and beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Check for seasoning, remove the bay leaves and serve as it is in bowls or with bread, rice, pasta or more veg.

Serves 4.


  1. Pork steaks are definitely a favourite in our house and this does sound like a fine dish (although I don't feel confident about cooking in a wood burner). I used to buy tinned tomato fillets a lot, but they've become much harder to find outside of quite expensive Italian delis in recent years.

  2. I like the post by Traveling penguin, from last Sunday the 2nd about blogs. I decided to check all the blogs out.
    I'm a fan of greens.
    Coffee is on and stay safe.