Oct 28

I just made this up today and thought I should get it on the blog before I forgot it! It’s ideal for the slow cooker but obviously you could do this in the oven or on the hob if you wish – just adjust the timing accordingly.

Serves 4
Cook for 5-6 hours in the slow cooker

1 whole chicken jointed into 2 breasts, 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs – or 8 thighs (up to you)
1 chorizo ring sliced
1 onion sliced
2 fat garlic cloves crushed
2 chillis finely sliced
1/2 bag frozen mixed sliced peppers
400g chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken stock (I use Kallo)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
2 x 300g tins cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Put the onion, garlic, chillis, peppers, tomatoes, stock, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper into the slow cooker.
Place the chorizo slices into a hot frying pan and brown and crisp up on both sides – then remove using a slotted spoon and place into slow cooker and mix in.
Remove any skin from the chicken pieces and then add to the pan with the chorizo oil and fry for a few minutes each side to brown – then remove using a slotted spoon and place into slow cooker on top of the rest of the ingredients.
Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker onto high for 1 hour and turn to low for another 4 hours then add the cannellini beans.
Cook for another 30 mins to 1 hour and have a taste to check the seasoning.

I served in large bowls with rice and shredded savoy cabbage – delicious!

May 2

This is another Weight Watchers recipe and I have to say these biscotti are delicious and taste very authentic – the original recipe uses pistachios but I prefer to use almonds as that is what was in the biscotti that we bought when we were in Tuscany last year. If you follow the recipe it will make 48 biscotti and each one is 72 cals – however I find these a bit small, and prefer to divide the dough into 2 rather than 4 – see what works for you!

200g caster sugar
100g whole almonds roughly chopped
100g dried apricots roughly chopped
zest of 1 orange, juice of 1/2 orange
1 tsp baking powder
250g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp milk

You will need 2 large greased baking trays.

Preheat the oven to 170 (fan), 190 or gas mark 5.
Reserve 2 tsp caster sugar and put the rest in a bowl with the almonds, apricots, zest, baking powder and all but 2 tbsp of the flour and mix.
Add the egg and juice and mix into a soft dough.
Sprinkle the reserved flour onto a work surface and divide the dough into 4 (or 2 for large biscotti).
Roll a quarter (or half) the dough in the flour and shape into a sausage about 24 cm long. Repeat to make 4 (or 2) in total.
Place 2 sausages (or 1) on each baking tray.
Brush all over with milk and sprinkle with the reserved sugar.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and reduce the temp to 130 (fan), 150 or gas mark 2.
When the biscotti is cool enough to handle (about 5 mins), cut each one with a serrated knife into 12 slices about 1cm thick.
Return to the trays (clean and re-grease if necessary) and bake for a further 15 mins or until lightly golden.
Remove from the tray once cooled and enjoy with a proper Italian coffee!

Sep 5

This recipe is from Weight Watchers and is really great – it feels like a real treat but is only 104 cals per serving! Great for entertaining too as you can make it the day before and keep it in the freezer (and it also looks stunning on the plate).

Serves 8

25g white chocolate
175g frozen mixed berries, defrosted (I had blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants)
4 trifle sponges, sliced in half lengthways
1 500ml container of low fat vanilla ice cream (I used Carte D’Or light)

To serve:
Ready made raspberry coulis
100g berries as above, defrosted

Spray a 2lb loaf tin with oil and then line with cling film.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the melted chocolate in a zigzag pattern over the base of the tin. Place in the freezer for 10 mins to set.
Blend 100g of the berries, and then drizzle this in a zigzag pattern in the opposite direction over the white chocolate – then place in the freezer for 15 mins to set.
Working quickly, spread one third of the ice cream into the tin, then drizzle with half of the remaining blended fruit and top with half of the trifle sponges.
Mix a third of the ice cream with the remaining 75g of berries and crush them slightly, then spread this into the tin. Drizzle with the remaining blended fruit and top with the trifle sponges.
Top with the remaining ice cream and smooth over.
Cover the top with cling film and then place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, take the terrine out the freezer and leave for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a flat board and carefully cut into slices.
Drizzle your plates (large ones look good) with the coulis in a zigzag pattern and then place a slice of the terrine in the middle and place assortment of berries around the terrine. Delicious!

Sep 3

Just made this one up last night and it was great and crammed with goodness – low fat, low calorie, high fibre and easy to make too. Sorry no actual breakdown of fat and cals as it’s my own concoction!

Serves 6

600g new pototoes, whole with skins still on (could also use old potatoes or peeled sweet potatoes)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves, garlic crushed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
2 courgettes, chopped
150g sweetcorn kernels
2 fresh chillis, finely chopped (or use chilli powder/flakes if you don’t have fresh)
400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml (approx) passata
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp grated low fat cheddar (I used Weight Watchers)

You’ll need a large shallow ovenproof dish for this.

In a saucepan, cover the whole new potatoes with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 mins until just under cooked. Drain and leave to cool a little.
In the meantime, spray a pan with a little oil and add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook for a few minutes with the lid on until softened.
Add the courgettes, sweetcorn and chillis and cook for a few more minutes to soften a little.
Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, passata, stock cube, sugar, salt and pepper and simmer for about 10 mins.
Preheat the oven on to 160 degrees fan forced.
Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Pour the sauce into a large ovenproof dish.
Cut the new potatoes into wedges and scatter them randomly onto the sauce (i.e some with skin side up, some not) and spray with a little spray oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 40 mins.
Take dish out of the oven and sprinkle with the cheese and place back into the oven for another 5 mins.
Serve with a large salad. Delicious and healthy!

If using old potatoes, you could slice them instead of doing wedges. If using sweet potatoes, you could mash instead of wedges.

Aug 25

These are delicious and very quick to make – I made them tonight and had to get them on the blog asap! Just 121 cals per flapjack – they are from the Weightwatchers magazine and each one provides 2 points (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Makes 16

75g low fat spread (38% fat – I used ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter light’)
50g light muscavado sugar
2 tbsp runny honey
250g oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
pinch of salt
1 large ripe banana
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence

Preheat oven to 160 degrees fan forced.
Grease and line the base of a 22in square baking tin.
Melt the spread, sugar and honey in a pan, stirring well.
Stir in the oats, baking powder and seeds along with a pinch of salt.
In a bowl, mash the banana with the vanilla extract, then stir into the oat mix.
Spoon into the prepared tin and press down firmly.
Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and firm to the touch. Cut into 16 square whilst still warm and then allow to cool.
Store in an airtight container. YUM!

Jul 12

These are so easy and great for a BBQ. Adapt the recipe as needed.

Serves 6

3 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 whole chorizo sausage, sliced (approx 170g)
3 teaspoons harissa paste (I use one from M&S)
6 skewers soaked in warm water for 30 mins

Mix the chicken with the harissa paste.
Alternate the chicken and chorizo on the skewers.
Place on the BBQ or under a hot grill until chicken is cooked through and the chorizo and crisp on the edges (approx 10 mins).
Great served with the Morrocan carrot salad!

Jul 12

This is a recipe adapted from ‘Nigella Express’ and v easy to make and very moreish. I’ve made them a little more healthy by using 97% fat free condensed milk.

Makes at least 16 – you choose how big you want them!

1 x 397g can 97% fat free condensed milk
250g rolled oats (not instant)
75g shredded or dessicated coconut
100g dried cranberries or any dried berries of your choice (or a mixture)
150g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame)

Preheat oven to 130 degrees/gas mark 1/2 and line a 23x33x4cm baking tin with baking parchment or paper.
Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.
Mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk.
Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with a spatula or use your hands.
Bake for 1 hour and let it cool for 15 mins.
Slice into chunks.
Apparently they store well too (I wouldn’t know as they disappear very quickly!)

Jul 12

This is a great dish for the summer and really good as a side dish to go with a BBQ or serve with salad and roasted chicken. Great served warm or cold.

Serves 4/6 generously

3 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1 large red pepper, cut into chunks
1 large green pepper, cut into chunks
1 large yellow pepper, cut into chunks
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
8oz or 200g bulgar wheat

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove crushed
50ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml balsamic vinegar
squeeze of clear honey (about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking tray and add the vegetables, tossing in the oil. Place in the oven and bake for about 45-50 mins, giving them a shake every so often.
Place bulgar wheat in a large bowl and pour boiling water over to more than cover – leave to soak.
In the meantime make the dressing by mixing ingredients together, season to taste.
When the roasted veg are ready, drain the bulgar wheat in a sieve squeezing out any liquid by pressing with the back of spoon.
Add the roasted veg and dressing to the bulgar wheat and mix thoroughly – add more salt and pepper if needed.

Jul 12

These are brilliant cooked on the barbie – but you can also bake in the oven. You can have 1 courgette per person or 1/2 per person – depends on what else you have on the BBQ. Adapt the recipe as needed!

Serves 4 or 8

4 courgettes (whole or cut in half in the middle)
4 teaspoons green pesto
1/3 block feta cheese
4 teaspoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
Salt and pepper

Line a small pan with foil and give it a light spray with oil.
Cut a v-shaped groove in the courgette lengthways to give you a recess of about 1cm deep.
Fill the recess with pesto and then cut the feta into long slices to fit the recess.
Sprinkle with pine nuts (if using).
Place on the baking tray and then grind salt and pepper over.
Cover with foil and place into the BBQ or in the oven for about 20 mins or so until they have gone soft.

Jul 12

This is adapted from a Rosemary Conley recipe and it’s really really good! 76 kcal and 2.7g fat per serve. Best made the day before but not essential (don’t sprinkle chocolate powder on top until ready to serve).

Serves 8

4 heaped teaspoons coffee granules
4 teaspoons brandy
1/2 pint water
1 packet sponge fingers (approx 12)
1 sachet Bird’s sugar-free dream topping
1/4 pint skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
12oz (350g) low-fat fromage frais
powdered drinking chocolate to decorate

Mix the coffee with the brandy and make up to 1/2 pint (300ml) with water. Pour half into a shallow dish and place 1/ the sponge fingers into liquid and allow it to soak up.
Arrange the fingers into the base of a serving dish to form a layer.
Place the milk in a large bowl and then add the dream topping and follow instructions on packet.
Mix in the fromage frais.
Spoon 1/2 the mixture over the soaked sponge fingers.
Soak the remaining sponge fingers in the leftover brandied coffee and place in the dish.
Top with the remaining fromage frais mix.
Just before serving, sprinkle with the chocolate powder.

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