Archive for the 'Starters' Category

12 23rd, 2008

This soup is adapted from Rosemary Conley’s ‘Low Fat Cookbook’ and is excellent for a warming lunch and very good for you – just 193 kcals and 1.9g fat.

Serves 6

1 onion finely chopped
225g or 8oz leeks halved lengthways and then sliced
225g or 8oz carrots diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
175g or 6oz red lentils, rinsed
1.2 litres or 2 pints vegetable stock
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons tomato puree
salt and pepper

Spray a large saucepan with a little oil and then fry the onion and leeks for 3-4 mins.

Add the carrots, cumin, lentils and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Then add the herbs and chili powder.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender.

Stir in the tomato puree and season well with salt and pepper. Have a quick taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Healthy and delicious!

12 21st, 2008

This is adapted from a Rosemary Conley recipe and it is very quick and so low in fat and calories – just 58 kcals and 1.2g fat per serving! For a more substantial meal you could add some cooked noodles and chicken to the bowl.

Serves 4

225g or 8oz frozen sweetcorn

2 fresh red chillies seeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 red pepper seeded and finely chopped

6 spring onions finely sliced

1.2 litres or 2 pints vegetable stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for 15-20 mins.

Have a taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve. How easy is that!

12 21st, 2008

This is a great light starter if you are entertaining or a side dish for a BBQ. It’s also incredibly easy to put together and very attractive on the plate.

Serves 4

1 large jar roasted red peppers, drained

100g or 4oz of goats cheese or feta

50g or 2oz pine nuts lightly toasted

4 good handfuls of rocket

4 teaspoons red pesto

splash of white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Plate a non stick frying pan onto a medium heat and once warm, add the pine nuts and swirl around in the pan for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Do not take your eye off them or they will be black!

Place the rocket leaves in the centre of four large plates.

Drain the jar of peppers and then tear the peppers into pieces – use as much as you feel appropriate! Lay the pepper strips onto the rocket.

Break up the goats cheese with your fingers and sprinkle over the peppers and rocket. Then  scatter over the pine nuts.

Mix the red pesto with a little white wine vinegar until you have a dressing consistency. Add salt and pepper and have a taste – adjusting the quantity of pesto or vinegar if needed.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and around the side of the plate and finish with a grind of black pepper over the top.


11 27th, 2008

This is a brilliant light starter if you are entertaining – it takes minutes to assemble and tastes divine. Oh and it’s low in fat and calories! 220 kcals and 9.3g per serving.

100g or 4oz canned green lentils, drained (you can use puy lentils simmered for 30 mins if you have the time or the inclination!)
4 spring onions finely sliced
1 red pepper diced
10 cherry tomatoes halved
200g or 8oz rocket
125g or 5oz goats cheese, crumbled *

for the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablepoons runny honey
1 clove garlic crushed

* use feta for a cheaper alternative if you like

Place the lentils into a bowl and add the onion, pepper and tomatoes and mix well.

Divide the rocket between four plates and top with the lentil mixture. Drizzle the dressing over and sprinkle the goats cheese on top.

11 25th, 2008

This is adapted from an Ainsley Harriot recipe from his brilliant ‘Low Fat Meals in Minutes’ book. This salad is just so delicious and perfect as a light starter for a dinner party as it so easy to make and looks very impressive. Use parmesan if you can’t find pecorino.

Serves 4

12 button onions halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

25g or 1oz of pecorino or parmesan

100g or 4oz rocket leaves

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.

Place the onions in a shallow roasting tin and drizzle the oil over. Season and drizzle over half the balsamic vinegar.

Roast onions for 25-30 mins, stirring halfway through until softened and browned.

Drizzle over the remaining balsamic and leave to cool.

Divide the rocket between 4 plates, add the onions and shave pecorino over. Drizzle with the pan juices and serve. Yum!

Serves 4 as a starter

A great starter, as you can get everything ready beforehand and just put it together when you are ready – so excellent for entertaining.

I like to use a health grill or griddle pan to cook the chicken to give it the griddle lines but it’s not essential if you don’t have one :0)

2 chicken breasts sliced

2 garlic cloves crushed

50g or 2oz pine nuts

4 tablespoons parmesan shavings

4 good handfuls of mixed leaves or rocket

4 teaspoons of bottled green pesto

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Mix the chicken slices with the crushed garlic and a little olive oil and add some salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover the bowl with cling film and and put in fridge until ready.

Heat a non stick frying pan on a medium heat, add the pine nuts and shake the pan gently until they are lightly browned.

Make parmesan shavings with a vegetable peeler and wash and dry your preferred salad leaves.

Mix together the pesto and vinegar and add a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and have a taste – adjust to your preference (e.g may need more pesto or vinegar).

Heat the health grill/griddle pan cook chicken on both sides.  Whilst it is cooking, arrange the salad leaves into the centre of 4 plates.

Once the chicken is done, arrange onto the salad leaves. Sprinkle with the toasted pinenuts and then scatter the parmesan shavings on top.

Drizzle with the pesto dressing and dot some around the outside of the salad.