Eating the Enemy: U$C

The Trojan course

A healthy triumph over Greek tragedy

We've reduced the calories by 890 and reduced the saturated fat by 38g. Amazing.

The MH Moussaka (serves 8)

You will need

1 medium aubergine
1 medium courgette
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
600g minced turkey
Large splash of red wine
2 tbsp tomato purée
600g of tinned chopped tomatoes
1 beef or lamb bouillon cube
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp oregano
Small handful of fresh parsley

300g plain yogurt, fat-free
2 egg whites
2 tsbp flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp salt and pepper

"Substituting lean ground turkey for the lamb loin traditionally used in moussaka drastically >reduces your fat intake," says registered dietician Stephanie Staus. Turkey hatches a slender 111 calories and 2g of fat per 100g, while lamb loin racks up 245 calories and 21g.

Ditching the standard egg-yolk and cream béchamel sauce for MH's fat-free yoghurt sauce saves preparation time and burns extra blubber. "Restricting calories combined with increasing calcium intake through low-fat dairy accelerates fat-burning," says University of Colorado researcher Professor Edward Melanson.

The kitchen countdown

1 hour 55 minutes

Trim off the top and bottom of the aubergine and courgette, then thinly slice them lengthways. A mandoline - a sharp-bladed slicing gadget - is handy here. Ditch the slices that are all skin down one side, as they'll be too chewy. Lay the slices in a single layer on a tray and sprinkle with salt. Leave them for 10 minutes while the salt extracts excess moisture and bitterness, then blot them with a paper towel and lightly brush with olive oil.

1 hour 35 minutes
Stick a single layer of veggies in the frying pan over a high heat until soft - about 45 seconds on one side and 30 on the other. Try to cook slices of the same thickness together to ensure even cooking. When you're done, leave them on a plate at room temperature while you prepare the meat.

1 hour 25 minutes
Finely chop the onion and peeled garlic. Fry them in olive oil with ½ a teaspoon of salt over a medium heat until the onions soften (about 4 minutes).  

Add the minced turkey and fry until lightly brown. Crumble the bouillon in and add the wine. Stir the mix to lift any browned bits off the bottom, these "caramelized" pieces make the sauce extra tasty. Add tomato purée, tomatoes, spices and herbs (except parsley) and simmer over a medium heat until it becomes a thick sauce (about 20 minutes). If you're pushed for time, simmer the sauce for 10 minutes and add 2 tablespoons of gravy thickener (such as arrowroot powder or Bisto). But make sure you take the sauce off the heat for a few minutes before adding the thickener, and simmer for 3 minutes afterwards. Stir in your finely chopped fresh parsley, then take the meat mixture off the heat.

50 minutes
Whisk the egg whites until frothy in a deep bowl, then add the yoghurt, flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Keep whisking until it's lump-free.

45 minutes

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C. Place a single layer of the grilled vegetables in the baking dish, top with a third of the meat mixture then cover with vegetables. Repeat until all the meat and veggies are in the dish, then cover with the yogurt mixture. You can now refrigerate or freeze the moussaka, or bake for 40 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

And to drink...

"May I suggest an absolute bargain: La Basca Uvas Tintas 2005 (£4.99 from Marks & Spencer) is the palette-pleasing equivalent of thinking you're buying a Ford Fiesta and opening the garage next morning to find the Millennium Falcon. For a step even further up the flavour tree, Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Zinfandel 2003 (£7.59 from Waitrose) has all the spice and allure of a hundred peppercorns synchronised-swimming in fruit punch. And for an all-the-stops pulling drop to impress a date, or bribe a border guard, Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2004 (£14.99 from Waitrose) is so delicious I'd happily sip it from a tramp's armpit," says the irrepressible and ever refined Olly Smith, resident connoisseur on Sky One's Taste.

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