Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog – ISBN: 1760110655

  • Full Title: Courtyard Kitchen: Recipes and growing tips for herbs and potted fruits
  • Autor: Natalie Boog
  • Print Length: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1760110655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1760110659
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 47,37 Mb
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Herbs and potted fruits thrive in small, easy-to maintain spaces – in courtyard pots and troughs, on decks or balconies or in window boxes. Herbs are inexpensive to pot and grow and add wonderful flavour to the simplest dish – and of course there’s nothing quite like cooking with home-grown ingredients.

Courtyard Kitchen is prefaced with simple tips and hints on selecting the best herbs for your space and setting up and maintaining them; it includes essential information on seasons, cropping times and basic plant care. Following this are more than 80 simple fresh food recipes with clever flavour-matching ideas based around a specific herb or potted fruit theme – basil, mint, coriander, lemon, parsley, strawberry, thyme, rosemary, chilli. There are risottos, roasts, pizzas, salsas, salads, soups, recipes for pasta, polenta, couscous; there are sorbets, cakes, biscuits and treats – delicious, easy recipes that celebrate the sheer pleasure of home cooking with herbs you’ve grown yourself.


Editorial Reviews


"It's a great cookbook you can use over and over again." –Sandra's Kitchen Nook, 3/30/2016

About the Author

Natalie Boog ran a fruit and vegetable co-operative which prompted her to start a very successful food blog, from which the idea for Courtyard Kitchen arose.



TO MY LATE AUNT DERRY, for showing me how to bake amazing pastries and desserts. I truly miss your Guinness cake. Mine is never quite as good as yours was.


Asian Burger



The Quick Six Fix Philosophy

Recipe Key

The Quick Six Fix Pantry











Sample Quick Six Fix-Day Meal Plans

Quick Six Themed Menus


About the Author




About the Publisher

There’s an Irish proverb that best describes my approach to cooking: “There’s no use boiling your cabbage twice.” It actually has nothing to do with cooking; it’s usually said when someone tends to revisit worries over and over. But if you take it more literally, it simply shows the folly in making too much of a fuss over anything—including cooking. I find that people tend to unnecessarily stress out over preparing a meal. It needn’t be hard, and it doesn’t have to require a lot of time. We’re modern people living in modern times with all of the savvy, tools, and tricks to cook efficiently without sacrificing delicious results. Think about it: What good is a twice-boiled anything?

There’s a reason for my affinity for Irish proverbs: I’m from Ireland, the small town Nenagh in County Tipperary, population just shy of eight thousand. Traditionally, it’s a market town with one of Ireland’s leading creameries. And we do love our cream and butter.

In my family, we were three boys and one girl, along with my parents. My mom always loved cooking and she never spared anything with food, even though we didn’t have much money. Still, every Saturday she’d buy quality ingredients at the farmers’ markets, including fresh meat, poultry, fruit, and vegetables along with all of that great dairy. And she cooked with great enjoyment—it was her hobby away from long hours working at her clothing store. By the age of seven, I had become her miniature sous-chef, helping to roll out dough for pastries, chopping vegetables for stew, and performing with glee any task she had given me. I relished the one-on-one time with her, not to mention the tasty treats she’d slip me in the process. When I wasn’t cooking with my mom, I’d help my aunt, who was endlessly baking. She taught me how to achieve that perfectly flaky crust and a featherlight meringue. I’d assist her with everything from apple tarts to her Guinness cake to pavlova, still some of my favorite taste memories today.

Both my aunt and my mom didn’t need a long list of ingredients. Nor did they use elaborate methods to prepare good food. From them, the first inklings of my Quick Six Fix philosophy were born.

I went off to culinary school when I was nineteen, then cooked in kitchens in France, Dublin, and the Napa Valley. Those professional kitchens taught me how to respect my space, working efficiently while keeping it clean. Another component of the Quick Six Fix took hold then. I realized there’s no reason why those ethics can’t apply to the home kitchen, too.

Once I arrived in Los Angeles and I started to cook for parties and events, speed, efficiency, and flavor were always intertwined and became more essential. Celebrity clients relied on me for food that tasted great with a seemingly effortless approach (they certainly never wanted to walk into a dirty kitchen!). Cooking on television, on shows such as Private Chefs of Beverly Hills and Stuart’s Kitchen, helped me streamline my kitchen, and methods, even more.

All of these influences, from my family to culinary school to cooking professionally to “playing” a chef on TV, all contributed to what I will share in this book. Once you get the hang of the Quick Six Fix philosophy, you’ll never cook the same way again. You’ll discover there’s nothing half-baked here, with no cutting of corners. Nor, for that matter, is anything twice-boiled. The Quick Six Fix is simply an easy method yielding fully delicious food.

The Quick Six Fix is my approach to quick and easy, full-flavor cooking. It is designed to get you in and out of the kitchen fast so that you can take the time to enjoy your meal and your company. Each recipe in this book features no more than six minutes of prep, six minutes of cleanup, and six key ingredients. And most recipes are designed to be made in 30 minutes or less. The few that do require a little more time do not require any more effort—just a little more roasting in the oven to make that chicken perfect, for example, or a little more simmering to tenderize that stew.



Use “The Quick Six Fix Pantry” chapter as your perpetual shopping list. If you keep your pantry stocked with these go-to items, you’ll always be prepared to make a quick, easy, tasty meal. Some of those items will figure int
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eard remembers Portland as a raunchy port of waterfront hearties and sporting ladies with their pimps. There were plenty of French and Italian immigrants to hire as hotel cooks, but they would catch gold fever and head for the Yukon to leave Mother Beard fuming among her pots. She finally solved the help problem by hiring Chinese, men like Let, Gin, Poy, and Billy, immortalized now in Beard’s recipes.

If hotel life was a natural theater, the landscape was a work of art. The waters teemed with Olympia oysters, Dungeness crab, razor clams, and Columbia River salmon. The woods were blue with huckleberries and blackberries. Tables were loaded with terrapin stew and chicken sautéed with wild mushrooms. The Yamhill Street public market offered seasonally white raspberries, husk tomatoes, morels, lemon cucumbers, dozens of heritage apples. Italian truck gardeners brought in cardoons, fava beans, leeks, and Savoy cabbages.

With all this natural bounty at their command, Mother Beard and Let battled daily over the proper way to make aspic capon, or curries, applying the ancient arts of China, England, and France to the provender of western shores. Beard remembers Let brandishing a knife and Mother parrying with a stick of firewood. But such quarrels ended in laughter and renewed argument over the proper way to preserve a fig. They instilled in the wide-eyed child watching “a love for food … the most varied gastronomic experiences any child ever had.” For an American child, it was a dream kitchen.

There was Let’s Wonderful Sweet Cream Biscuit and My Mother’s Black Fruitcake and My Father’s Favorite Pear Preserves. It was the great American amalgam, where Mother imported the muffin and crumpet rings of her youth so that Chinese Let could make perfect English crumpets,“dripping with butter and daubed with our strawberry jam,” as Beard wrote in his magnificent memoir, Delights and Prejudices. It was also a social amalgam of backyard, carside, and oceanside picnics. There were champagne parties, whist parties, bridge parties, fashionable luncheons and after-theater suppers. For a large fat boy, it was bliss.

He was so pampered, Beard recalls, that he became “as precocious and nasty a child as ever inhabited Portland.” His lifelong friend Mary Hamblet agreed that he was a holy terror on occasion but always so generous that to admire a toy was to be given it to keep. She also remembers what may have been his first culinary dish, as they played on the beach at Gearhart and made a sand pie. They frosted it with a pink marshmallow whipped with salt water. “Eat it,” said James.”And I did,” said Mary. “Because I adored him—and he was big.”

Gifted with a taste memory as acute as perfect pitch, Beard remembers his first gastronomic moment: after he’d crawled into a vegetable bin, he bit into a giant onion, eating it up skin and all. At three, sick with malaria, he remembers being fed a superb chicken jelly. At four, his father took him to dine out in Portland once a week so that he could begin to discriminate among restaurants. At five, his mother—in a lapse of discretion—took him to “a palace of high living” called the Louvre, where he sampled French cuisine in a burgundy boudoir setting. And at all ages, his Chinese godfather Let took him to eat in Chinatown.

Still, even as a child prodigy of gustation, his first love was not eating but acting. He advanced from charades in his mother’s hotel to playing Tweedledum in the Red Lantern Players’ production of Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Fuzzywig in their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. At nineteen, he set forth to be an opera singer, traveling by freighter (The Highland Heather) through the Panama Canal to London and Paris.

When a vocal ailment derailed that ambition, he sailed back to New York, played Cyrano and Othello at Walter Hampden’s Theater, and went on to radio in San Francisco, broadcasting food commercials. But when it was clear, after more than a decade’s trial, that he could not both act and eat, he chose to eat. He came back to Manhattan to become what he called a “gastronomic gigolo.” In 1937 jobs were scarce but hunger was not. So he cooked for his supper at the houses of friends, and still he went hungry. He went hungry until, with a pair of friends, he opened a catering shop on 66th Street and Park Avenue and went after the carriage trade. At last he had found his destiny. With his first book, Hors d’Oeuvre & Canapés in 1940, Beard spoke in a new voice for a new audience of both men and women. He revolutionized the feminine canapés of the time, those dabs and “doots” of cream cheese on soft white bread. Instead, he offered he-man highball stuff, like artichokes stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon rolls, brioche-onion rings. A year later, he hacked out the Real-Men-Eat-Good trail with Cook It Outdoors and later expanded it with cookery books on fowl and game, barbecue and rotisserie, and fish.

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rn mir meine Arbeit in der Küche.


Den Stabmixer verwende ich als Universalgerät zum Pürieren, Mixen und Zerkleinern. Küchenmaschine, Mixer und Nudelmaschine sind ideal für alle, die gerne backen, Teige und Pasta machen oder Desserts zubereiten.


Ob Lasagne, Cannelloni oder andere Speisen aus dem Backofen: Feuerfestes Geschirr aus Keramik, Metall oder Glas ist notwendig für deren Zubereitung.


Ohne Hitze bleibt die Küche kalt. Ob Gas-, Elektro- oder Induktionsherd obliegt den Präferenzen jedes Einzelnen.

Ober- und Unterhitze oder Heißluft: Jeder Backofen kann viele kulinarische Wünsche erfüllen. Wichtig ist, dass ihr euren Backofen ausprobiert und kennenlernt, damit ihr optimale Ergebnisse erzielt.


Wer es genau liebt und exakt arbeiten möchte, sollte sich eine grammgenaue Küchenwaage zulegen. Vor allem für die Zubereitung von Süßspeisen sind Waagen unerlässlich.


Ein integraler Bestandteil meiner Kochphilosophie ist, beim Kochen alle Sinne einzusetzen.


Unsere Augen geben uns die Möglichkeit, Frische und Qualität der Zutaten zu überprüfen. Sind die Waren einwandfrei oder beschädigt? Sind sie makellos und ohne Schimmelbefall? Haben Obst und Gemüse strahlende Farben oder sind sie noch grün und unreif?

Beim Kochen sehe ich, wie weit der Kochprozess schon ist. Ist mein Gemüse noch roh oder schon gekocht? Ist das Brot goldbraun oder schon verbrannt?


Geruch löst beim Menschen starke Emotionen aus. Beim Einkauf rieche ich oft an meinen Lebensmitteln: Duftet das Brot oder ist es muffig? Riechen Kräuter und Gewürze frisch und aromatisch oder sind sie bereits ausgeraucht?

Beim Zubereiten ist der Geruch ein Indiz, ob die Temperatur beim Backen, Kochen oder Braten passt. Riecht es angenehm und wohlig, ist die Zubereitungstemperatur in Ordnung. Riecht es sehr streng oder vielleicht sogar verbrannt, sollte die Temperatur reduziert werden. Rieche ich weder Fett, Sauce oder Gewürze, ist mehr Hitze angebracht.


Der Geschmack ist beim Essen der zentrale Sinn. Schmecken die Tomaten aromatisch und reif oder eher nach Wasser? Schmeckt der Käse würzig oder mild?

Neben dem Erschmecken der Qualität ist auch das Abschmecken beim Würzen essentiell: versalzen, fad oder harmonisch [→ siehe auch Seite 18]?


Das Fühlen von Lebensmitteln wird oft unterschätzt, ist aber wichtig, um den Zustand von Cremen, Teigen etc. festzustellen. Ist die Creme fein genug püriert oder enthält sie noch Stücke? Fühlt sich der Teig glatt an oder zu brüchig? Ist die Sauce heiß genug oder nur lauwarm? Ist die Pasta al dente?


Sogar unser Gehör ist wichtig beim Kochen, vor allem, wenn mit technischen Hilfsmitteln gearbeitet wird. Arbeitet die Küchenmaschine mit der richtigen Geschwindigkeit? Passt die Temperatur der Pfanne? Ist es ein Brutzeln oder Zischen? Um festzustellen, ob Brot fertig gebacken ist, klopfe ich auf die Unterseite des Brotlaibes. Klingt es hohl, ist das Brot durch.

Das Wichtigste aber ist: Beim Kochen immer konzentriert arbeiten, so vermeidest du unnötige Fehler.

Weil alle Lebensmittel einzigartig sind, sind Zeitund Gewichtsangaben nur Richtwerte. Zum Beispiel: Eier haben immer unterschiedliche Größen, Teige brauchen manchmal mehr oder weniger Flüssigkeit, Kartoffeln kochen mal länger, mal kürzer, bis sie weich sind.

Das Wichtigste beim Kochen ist also, mitzudenken und zu schauen, was im Topf oder Ofen gerade passiert, und darauf entsprechend zu reagieren.


Der Schlüssel zum Erfolg beim Kochen ist das Würzen. Wer die fünf Geschmacksrichtungen süß, sauer, scharf, bitter und salzig perfekt kombiniert, erhält ausgeglichene und harmonische Speisen. Abschmecken und Würzen ist sehr subjektiv, da jede Person ein eigenes Geschmacksempfinden und andere Vorlieben hat. Aber auch das Würzen folgt einer gewissen Systematik. Es ist wie mit der Musik: Wer das Grundschema versteht, kann Speisen harmonisch und kreativ komponieren.

SÜSS verkörpert Wärme, Liebe und Herzlichkeit. Süße Speisen erinnern uns an schöne Momente im Leben, Zucker macht Gerichte warm und zärtlich.

SAUER macht lustig, ist ein alter Spruch, der auch beim Kochen gilt. Säure gibt einer Speise brillante, hohe Geschmacksnuancen – wie eine Querflöte in einem Orchester. Sie macht Speisen frischer, leichter und gibt ihnen mehr Eleganz.

SCHARFE Zutaten bringen Feuer und Leidenschaft in die Küche. Schärfe regt den Speichelfluss an, fügt einem Gericht Spannung und Drama zu und regt die Lust an.

BITTER gibt Speisen Tiefe und Körper und schafft Geschmackstöne im Hintergrund. Weil bitter so wichtig für den Geschmack ist, verwende ich sehr viele frische Kräuter und Gewürze – da
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referred in its title to the “World-Famous Organist . . . Court Composer, and Music Director” (NBR, no. 306; BDOK III, no. 666). The author and publisher of the obituary no doubt took into account the fact that the extent of Bach’s fame and special renown as organ virtuoso was much greater during his lifetime than his limited recognition generally. And it was no exaggeration to use the term “world-famous.” After all, in March 1750—before Bach’s death—Padre Giovanni Battista Martini of Bologna had written in a letter: “I consider it to be superfluous to describe the singular merit of Sig. Bach, for he is thoroughly known and admired not only in Germany but throughout our Italy” (NBR, no. 385; BDOK II, no. 600). This sounds like an exaggeration, and probably is. However, it cannot be forgotten that Padre Martini owned a number of Bach manuscripts and prints, including a copy of Clavier-Übung III (Leipzig, 1739), one of Bach’s most important organ works.

Bach’s historical position as organist was recognized soon after his death. The Prussian court musician Johann Joachim Quantz, discussing the development of the art of organ playing in his Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen (Berlin, 1752), referred to such figures as Froberger, Reinken, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and Bruhns, noting at the conclusion: “Finally the admirable Johann Sebastian Bach brought it to its greatest perfection in recent times” (NBR, no. 350; BDOK III, no. 651). In Quantz’s view, the “art of organ playing” included both performance and composition. As a flute virtuoso and composer for his instrument, Quantz understood only too well that one’s technical skill on an instrument affected one’s compositional concepts, and vice versa. This was also true for Bach. From childhood onward, his instrumental orientation and vocal background complemented each other, just as his keyboard skills were supplemented by his string experience and augmented by a compositional focus that eventually included the widest possible spectrum of musical instruments and human voices. All of this was supported by a deep knowledge and keen awareness of technological and physiological details and balanced by intellectual discipline and temperamental sensitivity.

The foundation for Bach’s systematic approach to his musical undertakings was firmly established before he started his career. Nevertheless, the years in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and the early years in Weimar, when easily managed duties coexisted with considerable personal freedom and economic security, offered this gifted, highly motivated, industrious, and ambitious musician ideal opportunities for extensive practicing, reflection, and composition. Above all, by a stroke of luck he had access in Arnstadt (where he held his first position) to a brand-new and perfectly functioning instrument constructed by one of the best and most advanced organ builders of his time. The instrument boasted a modern well-tempered tuning that offered no limits to his harmonic experiments and that did not require—as church organs then did of most organists—that he constantly repair it. For four critical years of his artistic life, from 1703 to 1707, he had an ideal—one might even say a more than perfect—performance laboratory at his disposal in which he could strengthen and expand his virtuosity and, as a composer, build and develop his harmonic fantasy and tonal ideas. In addition, Bach enjoyed early on the encouragement, recognition, and support of respected and influential older colleagues, among them in particular the organists Georg Böhm, Johann Adam Reinken, and Johann Effler, and the organ builder Johann Friedrich Wender.

Already as a young organist, and to no less an extent as a mature player, Bach was interested in the entire gamut of musical genres, whether chorale-based or not, contrapuntal or free, written in a few voices or many. By approximately 1714–15, he had investigated practically all of the various ways in which organ and keyboard music could be composed: from the various types of organ chorales (such as large-scale fantasias, chorale partitas or variations, and chorale fugues) to the wide spectrum of genres common to both the organ and harpsichord (such as canzona, passacaglia, toccata, prelude, fantasia, fugue, sonata, and concerto). Added to this was his never-ending interest in the compositional technique of others, from the earliest to the very latest repertoire. Bach’s library eventually contained collections as old as Elias Nicolaus Ammerbach’s Orgel oder Instrument Tabulatur (Leipzig, 1571), of which he owned no less than three copies, and Frescobaldi’s Fiori musicali (Rome, 1635), of which he prepared a handwritten copy in 1714, as well as works of German, French, and Italian masters of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He also assembled compositions not only of his contemporaries, but also of the generation of his students—all of which allowed
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sts at both restaurants. I’ve also been researching the history and regionality of Indian cooking and every year, we visit our homeland to discover and better understand the flavours of India. It’s amazing how the same dish can change so dramatically in appearance, aroma, taste and texture in just a few kilometres.

My boys are now in their twenties and help out in the restaurants too. To have such a happy worklife and family is the SWEET balance I’ve been looking for. We are a very close family and we still have quite a strong relationship with our astrologer. He’s close to 80 now and still tells me do this, don’t do that … He’s even advised us when our children should be married. We trust him completely. After all, he was right about Suba and me.


Kumar has kaivasnai, a Tamil word that means ‘hands that give flavour’. I don’t come from a big foodie family. We just ate what was given to us, which was very simple. My father’s only comment about food was if a dish needed less or more salt. It took me a while to understand that what Kumar says isn’t meant to hurt — and he offers criticism freely and frequently. Now I tell him, can you please tell me the truth? I don’t want him to say something just to be nice. Even my mother asked Kumar for help to improve her cooking.

My father, Krishnamurthi, was an engineer for All India Radio and every few years, he’d be transferred, so I lived in lots of different regions. I was born in Chennai, started school in Jodhpur and finished it in Sangli. After a few years in Mumbai, I moved back to Chennai, graduated with a commerce degree and took a job as an announcer at Chennai Railway Station. My father’s travels meant that I spoke four state languages — Hindi, Marwadi, Tamil, Marathi — as well as English. Kumar only spoke Tamil.

I found out about my marriage accidentally, overhearing a conversation. I discovered that our horoscopes were already matched and Kumar’s parents were coming to see me. Suddenly my life was taking a very different turn. Girls of my caste married doctors and lawyers, not chefs. I was twenty-one, so shy and confused too, so I simply left everything to my parents. There was no compulsion from our parents that we had to get married. At any time we could say no, but I still felt the pressure. Our destiny was overpowering our emotions.

I was worried about how to settle in Australia, especially since I’d never left India; however, my age was an advantage and I believed I could adapt. When they sent me Kumar’s photo, I wondered how tall he would be. He had sunnies on, so I wanted another photo. I did think he had a nice smile. I didn’t have any photographs of myself, so I went to a studio to have one taken and sent it to him, but he thought it looked too serious and wanted another one.

The next step was a phone call, but I’d never made an international one before. His parents had a phone at their house, so I’d go over there to talk to him. I was so nervous. Kumar is very talkative and straight away he started asking questions. I didn’t know whether to speak in English or in Tamil and I don’t think I answered any of the first few questions. He asked me if I knew how to cook. I said yes. I thought he meant the basic, simple cooking I grew up with. I simply kept saying yes to anything. It was a nervous yes. There was a lot of pressure on me. I thought if I said yes, everything would be alright. The only confidence I had was that if I said yes, I’d be able to do it. But I also felt very stressed after that first call and wondered what the next one would be about.

My initial impression was Kumar was full of life and seemed so worldly. On the second call, he made a lot of suggestions, such as driving and photography courses. After a while we both began to look forward to our calls, then Kumar asked his younger brother to go see me. He turned out to be an absolute contrast to Kumar and told his elder brother, ‘She’s too good for you, you got more than you asked for’.

We had the traditional first meeting at my parents’ place, just ten days before our marriage. Kumar’s parents had warned me that he’s very fast, very loud and very aggressive. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking as I tried to pour coffees. Everyone was watching and I was the centre of attention. I was so shy I didn’t even look up to his face. After ten minutes Kumar said, ‘I want to have a word with her separately.’ He asked if I’d done the things he asked me to do and once again I just kept saying yes, yes. I didn’t want to do anything to break things up and I was afraid.

Working with Kumar has brought us even

closer together. We have a common goal

in the success of our restaurants.

One thing I really like about Kumar is there’s an old-fashioned side to him. We share a faith in our parents and astrologer. My comfort was that the astrologer said our marriage wou
weight, or use an app on your phone (LDNM have a good one!), if that’s more convenient for you.

Once you’ve weighed yourself, break out the measuring tape and measure the following: bust/chest (at widest point), waist measurement and hip measurement.

To find your waist measurement, locate the bottom of your ribs with your fingers and then find the tops of your hips. Make sure you’re not holding your breath and take your waist measurement at the middle point. Write it down.

To find your hip measurement, stand in front of a mirror and put the measuring tape around your hips at the widest point. You might need to recruit a friend to help you with this.

You can write down your baseline measurements here:

Weight: ________________________

Bust/chest: ________________________

Waist: ________________________

Hip: ________________________


An important – and fun – way to measure your progress is through the progress selfie, which you can take after you weigh and measure yourself. You can take a few of these – front on, side on, from behind (if you can) – and compare them from week to week. Progress selfies will show you, beyond a doubt, that your hard work is paying off, even when the scales seem stuck!


When people talk about wanting to lose weight, what they usually mean is losing body fat. Losing fat isn’t simply depriving yourself of food. There’s so much more to it, especially if you want to continue to lose weight and do so in a healthy and enjoyable way, and then maintain it once you’ve hit your target. There is no quick fix when it comes to losing weight. Extreme measures aren’t the answer, nor is simply guessing what you should eat or blindly following the latest fitness fad on social media. Here’s a simplified but thorough approach to working out what you personally should be consuming.

Fat loss has a very simple rule, one that is common to every single weight-loss ‘diet’: that it places you in a caloric deficit. To lose weight, you consume fewer calories than your body is expending.

That’s it. No rocket science. No superfoods, avocados or ‘slimming’ teas have the power to make you lose fat if you aren’t in a calorie deficit (and they won’t make you lose more fat even if you are!). You could just eat fast food and still lose body fat if you are in a calorie deficit, although we don’t advise this as it isn’t good for your health.

We are all unique. The number of calories one person consumes to lose weight can cause another to gain weight, due to different body size, body composition and amount of activity. Therefore the amount of calories you need to eat to lose weight will be individual to you.

To find the number of calories you need to consume to lose weight, we need to roughly calculate your maintenance calories – the number of calories you burn every day going about your usual business – and decrease from there.

The first step in doing this is to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) – the amount of calories your body needs to simply maintain normal bodily functions such as digestion, temperature regulation and respiration when you’re at rest. Basically, the number of calories you would use if you were lying down in bed all day.



You don’t need to have an exact calculation here, as this is a very inexact science. The average body fat for men is between 15–20 per cent and is between 22–28 per cent for women. If you are below average body fat you should use a lower number, whereas if you are above average you should use a higher number.

As long as you are able to guesstimate your percentage you will be able to calculate your BMR reasonably accurately.

There are numerous different calculations but we prefer the Katch-McArdle formula:

BMR = 370 + (21.6 x lean mass in kilograms)

Once you have your BMR you need to multiply it by your ‘activity factor’, which takes into account the extra calories your body uses in your day-to-day life, including your exercise regime.





BMR X 1.2

(sedentary work/daily routine, little or no additional exercise)


BMR X 1.3

(inactive work/daily routine and light exercise/sports 2–4 days per week)


BMR X 1.5

(moderately active work/daily routine, exercise/sports 3–5 days per week)


BMR X 1.7

(active work/daily routine, hard exercise/sports 6–7 days per week)


BMR X 1.9

(hard daily work/daily routine, exercise/sports twice a day, full-time athlete, etc.)

If in doubt, choose a lower activity factor. For example, if you train twice daily but otherwise have an inactive routine, use an activity factor of 1.7.

This will now give you what is known as your TDEE – which is


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