Thanks to my new workmate Kate for this lovely apple cake recipe – delicious and perfect for using up my mum’s cooking apples.

225g or 8oz cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped
225g or 8oz sultanas
150ml or 1/4 pint milk
175g or 6oz brown sugar
350g or 12oz self raising flour
10ml or 2 teaspoons mixed spice
175g or 6oz butter
1 egg, beaten
25g or 1oz demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 170 fan forced or gas mark 3. Line and grease a 8 inch square or round tin.

Mix the apples, sultanas, milk and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl, then add the beaten egg.

In a large bowl sieve the flour and spice together and then rub in the butter.

Add the fruit mix to the flour mixture and stir well.

Place into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour 45 mins until risen and golden brown.



08 20th, 2009

This is from the fab ‘Leon’ book and is a brilliant side dish for BBQ’s and picnics.

Serves 4 as a side

2 heaped tablespoons sultanas
3 large carrots, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 heaped tablespoon toasted seeds (I use pine nuts, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin)
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Plump the sultanas in hot water for 5 mins and then drain.

Mix everything else together thoroughly and season well.

Only put the lemon juice and olive oil on when you are ready to serve – mix well. So many gorgeous flavours here – I’m sure it will become a favourite!



08 20th, 2009

This is another favourite of mine from the ‘Leon’ cook book – I have made it so many times this summer and it is great with barbeques and grilled mackerel. As usual I have made some changes to it :0)

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

200g brown basmati rice
125g frozen peas, defrosted
100g frozen broad beans, defrosted
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 large or 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted seeds – pine nut, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

For the dressing:

1 red chilli, chopped very fine
3cm root ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons lime juice (one lime should do it)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Cook the rice according to packet instructions – usually takes between 40-45 mins.

Place the frozen peas and broad beans in a colander and run cold water over them to help them defrost.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and then set aside to infuse.

Add the spring onions, tomatoes, peas and broad beans to a large bowl.

When the rice is ready, place into a sieve and run it under cold water to cool.

Add the rice to the bowl, pour in the dressing and add the chopped coriander – mix thoroughly. Season to taste.

Quickly toast the seeds in a frying pan over a medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning.

Sprinkle the toasted seeds over the top of the rice and serve. Yum!



08 20th, 2009

I have just made this for the first time and it was so delicious that I have to put it here immediately! I have adapted it from the wonderful ‘Leon’ cookbook by Allegra McEvedy – more recipes to follow….

Makes enough for 4 to 6 hungry people

130g brown lentils
1 heaped teaspoon vegetable bouillon stock powder
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
1 large red onion, diced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons harissa paste
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
50g white basmati rice
2 tablespoons plain flour
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Soak the lentils in cold water for one hour and then drain.

Drain the chickpeas, place in a large pan and cover with 1.5 litres water and the stock powder. Add the onions and bring to the boil.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, garam masala, turmeric and harissa – cook for 20 mins until lentils are tender.

Add the rice and cook for a further 10 mins.

Meanwhile, gradually mix the flour with 4 tablespoons of water and then add 4 tablespoons of stock from the soup.

Add the lemon juice and gradually stir in the flour mixture – make sure that the soup is not boiling at this point.

Add the parsley, salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Have a taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary.

Absolutely delicious! I think it would also be fantastic with a lamb shank or two added and simmered for a couple of hours to make a really hearty stew – will be trying this very soon!



12 24th, 2008

This is a great low fat pudding – really good served with low fat ready-made custard! Just 190 kcals and 0.89g fat.

Serves 4

75g or 3oz mixed dried fruit
150ml or 1/4 pint apple juice
115g or 4oz stale brown or white bread diced
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 large banana, sliced
150ml or 1/4 pint skimmed milk
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 fan forced.

Place the dried fruit into a small pan with the apple juice and bring to the boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bread, spice and banana. Spoon the mixture into a shallow 1.2 litre/ 2 pint ovenproof dish and pour over the milk.

Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for 25-30 mins until firm and golden brown. A great winter warmer!



This is a great summer dish and of course you can substitute the mackerel for the more traditional tuna if you wish. Mackerel contains omega 3 fats which is so good for you and overall the dish is low in fat and calories.

Serves 4

225g or 8oz farfalle pasta (bows)
175g or 6oz green beans trimmed
2 smoked mackerel fillets
115g or 4oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon capers
25g or 1oz pitted black olives
4 eggs

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain and rinse well with cold water.

Place the eggs into a pan of boiling water and let them simmer for 8 mins so that they are not completely hard boiled. Then place the pan under running cold water for a few minutes and allow the eggs to sit in the cold water.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 4-5 mins so that they are al dente, then drain and rinse in cold water.

Divide the pasta between 4 plates and then break up the mackerel into bite-size pieces and place on top of the pasta.

Then arrange the green beans on top, scattering the tomatoes, capers and olives over.

Remove the shells from the eggs and divide each into quarters and arrange on top.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients together and give it a taste to check the seasoning and adjust if needed.

Drizzle the dressing between the salad plates and finish each with a grind of black pepper. Fresh and delicious!

This would also make a great lunch to take to work or for a picnic.



12 23rd, 2008

This pudding is delicious and it is lower in fat and calories than a standard recipe. I’m not going to say that it is 100% angelic – but it is certainly better for you than a full-fat version :0)

Serves 6

1 and 1/4 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 and 1/2 tablespoons reduced fat spread
2 egg whites – try an egg yolker if you find separating eggs difficult!
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sauce:
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons reduced fat ricotta cheese

Heat the oven to 170 fan forced and lightly grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking paper or alternatively use a silicone mould.

Roughly chop the dates and place in a small pan with 3/4 cup of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Then add the bicarbonate of soda.

Place flour, sugar, spread, egg whites and vanilla in a bowl and beat until blended. Add the date mixture and then pour into the cake tin and level the surface.

Bake for 30-40 mins – it is ready when a skewer comes out clean.

To make the sauce, place the sugar, syrup, and reduced fat ricotta into a pan and heat until melted and smooth.

Cut the pudding into 6 portions and serve with the sauce poured over and low fat ice cream if desired (and who wouldn’t?!)



12 23rd, 2008

This is a delicious and lighter alternative to a beef lasagne – just 424 kcal and 7.2g fat per serving. Simply serve with a salad on the side.

Serves 4

250g or 10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and all moisture squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
450g or 1lb cooked chicken breast, diced
4 sheets no pre-cook lasagne sheet
1.5 teaspoons cornflour mixed with a little water
1 vegetable stock cube
425ml or 15 fl oz skimmed milk
4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Tomato sauce:
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
400g or 14oz can chopped tomatoes
1/2 pint passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 fan forced.

Heat a large saucepan and spray lightly with oil. Add the onion and garlic and let it cook for 5 mins to soften. Then add the tomatoes, passata, sugar, herbs, tomato puree, salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer for 15 mins.

Lay the spinach on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg and season.

Arrange the chicken over the spinach and then pour over half of the tomato sauce. Place the lasagne sheets on top and then pour over the remaining tomato sauce.

Pour the skimmed milk into a non-stick pan and bring to the boil, then add the cornflour and water mixture stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Crumble the stock cube into the sauce and season with salt and pepper – mix well.

Pour the white sauce over the lasagne and then sprinkle the parmesan over.

Bake for 30 mins until golden.



12 23rd, 2008

This is great for serving with BBQ’s, cold meats and my chicken kebabs and is low fat and good for you! Add the dressing just before serving as otherwise the vegetables will go a bit soggy.

Serves 4

1/4 white cabbage shredded
1/4 chinese cabbage
1 large carrot coarsely grated
1/2 red pepper cut into fine strips (julienne)
1/2 red onion finely sliced

For the dressing:
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
dash of fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly – remember to add the dressing later if you are not serving immediately :0)



These kebabs are great for BBQ’s or serving as a main course with basmati rice and sweet chilli sauce. I also like serving them with Asian Coleslaw – see next recipe.

Serves 4

4 skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 rounded tablespoon curry paste – I always use Pataks Lemon and Coriander Tikka Masala paste
1/4 pint low fat natural yogurt
1/2 red pepper cut into chunks
1/2 green pepper cut into chunks
8 wooden skewers soaked in warm water for 30 mins

Place the chicken, curry paste and yogurt into a bowl and mix well. Place in the fridge and let it marinate for an hour.

Get your BBQ going or pre-heat your health grill

Thread the chicken and peppers onto the pre-soaked skewers and then place on the BBQ or health grill for 5-10 mins until cooked through.



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