The Italian Diet, by Gino D’Acampo and Juliette Kellow BSc RD was published by Kyle Cathie in 2010 and was Gino’s third book. You can read more about Gino D’Acampo here GINO D’ACAMPO AT ASDA AND MORE

The Italian Diet, also known as The I Diet, allows 2000 calories per day. This is the daily calorie allowance for a woman, as recommended by the NHS,

At the beginning of the book, D’Acampo points out that Italians live longer than Brits and that a higher proportion of the Italian population is over 60 years old. Italy has the lowest obesity rates in the European Union and Italians averagely have a lower BMI (body mass index) than Brits.

Chef D’Acampo subscribes this to a healthy Italian diet, which is Mediterranean in style, with plenty of vegetables, fruit, fish, olive oil, garlic, herbs – and starches such as pasta, rice, bread, polenta and pulses.

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The photography is fantastic and includes black and white stills of famous Italian actresses such as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.

The recipes start logicallly with breakfast. There are two dishes suitable for low carbers: grilled tomatoes stuffed with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and baked eggs with ham in tomato and garlic sauce.

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Antipasti can be used as a starter and light lunch/supper. Recipes for low carbers: grilled marinated peppers with garlic and Parma ham (ditch the bread); baked stuffed onions with sun-dried tomatoes; spinach and red pepper terrine; grilled prawns with baby leeks; and asparagus and duck with chunky tomato and onion salad. If you can find/make a low(er) carb bread, there are also four bruschetta recipes to top it with.

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Lunch to go recipes : there are two suitable for low carbers: aubergines with tomatoes, garlic and thyme and roasted tomatoes and soft cheese, rolled in Parma ham.

On to the soups and salads section, which provides low carbers with spicy fish soup, onion and pancetta soup, Feta, watermelon and basil salad, warm French bean salad with Mozzarella and garlic, seafood salad with capers and lemon, egg and salami salad with toasted pine kernels and rocket – and beef carpaccio with mustard and almond dressing.

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Some of the pasta recipes in the pasta section could be made with konjac pasta or courgetti (spiralised courgettes). Konjac rice and cauliflower rice aren’t suitable for making risotto using the traditional Italian method.

Fish next.. salmon fillets in tomato, garlic and thyme sauce; fillet of cod with a spicy red pesto, fresh sardines baked with lemon and capers, grilled fillets of mackerel with sun-dried tomatoes; tuna steak with garlic, olive oil and chilli, lemon prawns with garlic and black pepper (hold the bread) and quick mussel stew with saffron and white wine.

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For many, carne (meat) is always the main event. Here we are presented with rolled breast of chicken stuffed with mushrooms and rosemary, pork loin with white wine and sage pesto, spicy lamb meatballs with onions and rosemary, sirloin steak with Gorgonzola and pink peppercorn sauce, beef and wild mushroom stew (omit flour), pork steaks with mushroom and rosemary, lamb cutlets with artichokes and mint (hold the ciabatta) and skewered marinated lamb with rosemary and mint

Finally, in the aptly-named ‘naughty corner’ right at the back of the book, is light chocolate mousse with raspberries and orange zest which is free from flour, wheat and sugar.

It has to be said that mushrooms and rosemary do some heavy lifting in this recipe book. 32 recipes out of 100 is obviously less than 50%, but to have around a third of the recipes in a calorie controlled diet book suitable for low carbing is quite a surprise.

The recipes don’t use hugely expensive ingredients and they aren’t really difficult to do, either. There are lots of recipes which lend themselves to alfresco eating, self-catering on holiday. You could feed family and friends amazing food and have them not notice that it was all low carb.

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BUY if you want to low carb Italian-style, if you want great summer food, if you like informal entertaining.

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