Tuesday, 26 April 2016 - , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Courgette & Feta Salad with Avocado Dressing


This salad is fast becoming one of my favourites! It makes a gorgeous starter or light lunch, successfully combining the soft crunch of lime-drenched strands of courgette with a subtle, silky dressing made with avocado, garlic and basil. Finally, the salty crumble of feta and the toasted bite of pine kernels finish this dish to perfection.

It's best made just before serving otherwise it will go soggy.
It works out to 5sp/approx.97kcal per portion

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YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 4)

A spiralizer or julienne peeler would be ideal for this recipe

2 medium courgettes
1 lime
25g reduced fat Greek salad cheese

2 tablespoons pine kernels, lightly toasted
(literally dry-fry in a small frying pan until golden-take care not to burn)

For the dressing;

1 medium avocado
1 tablespoon garlic puree
1 generous bunch basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper
15-20 tablespoons cold water

***


Squeeze the lime and pop the juice into a large bowl, reserving a little for the dressing. Spiralize the courgette and mix well by hand into the lime juice to coat thoroughly. This will slightly 'cure' and soften the raw courgette strands and infuse them with flavour.


Pop the avocado, garlic puree, the remaining lime juice and basil leaves into a food processor. The lime juice is just to stop the avocado from discolouring.


Blend the dressing ingredients, adding cold water a few tablespoons at a time until you have this beautiful creamy, thick, silky-smooth dressing. It should drop easily from a spoon but not be too runny. It's amazing how much water this dressing can take! Season with black pepper. Add a little more garlic puree if you feel it's necessary but remember it will be mixed with the lime-drenched courgette so all the flavours will come together.


Pour the dressing onto the courgette strands saving a little amount to drizzle onto the plates when serving. Mix well to coat everything thoroughly.


Divide the mixture into 4 portions and heap generously onto serving plates.


Dot each plate with random blobs of dressing then divide the reduced fat feta into 4 portions and crumble loosely on top of the courgette.


Finally, divide the toasted pine nuts equally and scatter on the top of the salad. Finish with a little freshly ground black pepper.

***

Avocadomazing!

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TIPS

The avocado salad dressing is gorgeous on any salad of your choice-green leafy, pasta, etc. It works out to 11sp/190kcal for the whole amount or 3sp/48kcal per portion.

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You could make it thicker by adding less water and using it as a sauce for salmon or chicken -or even a smooth guacamole-style dip for fresh veggies like carrot or cucumber 

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RECIPE : Creamy Lemon Pasta with Roasted Mushroom, Garlic & Spinach Pesto Balls


I recently ate an inspired dish at Carluccio's which consisted of pasta, chilli, courgette and fried spinach balls. Even though it was absolutely delicious, it worked out to 20sp/17pp/670kcal per portion and was quite oily...so I challenged myself to come up with something equally yummy but a lot more economical on the sp/pp/kcal front.

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My recipe uses roasted mushrooms and garlic with basil in the spinach balls to give a robust depth of flavours fit for a king! I've complimented these with a creamy lemon-zesty pasta combined with 'courgetti spaghetti' to help pad out the portion.
I think you'll agree that my creamy lemon pasta dish with fantastic vegetarian 'meatballs' is completely delicious.

In true Slice-of-Slim style, mine works out to only 5sp/6pp/approx.300kcal per portion and can easily be adapted for a NoCount or Filling & Healthy day.

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 2)

For the Spinach Balls;


9 chestnut mushrooms
4 large cloves garlic
500g spinach leaves
generous bunch fresh basil
pepper to season
(I use garlic pepper or lemon pepper which is a seasoned, ground black pepper)

For Frying;
2 teaspoons olive oil


For the Creamy Lemon Pasta;


80g vermicelli
(uncooked weight)
(Swap for wholemeal pasta on a NoCount/F&H day)
2 courgettes/zucchini
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
60g lightest Philadelphia
(Swap for quark  or natural low fat yoghurt on a NoCount/F&H day)
fresh basil leaves

Optional
half a fresh, chopped red chilli

***

To make the Spinach Balls;


Pop the mushrooms and unpeeled garlic cloves onto a baking tray. Spray with Frylight oil (I used the garlic variety) and roast at 200C/400F/Gas6 for 30 minutes.


Place the spinach leaves into a bowl. Cover and microwave for 2-3 minutes until wilted down. You can steam/cook on the hob if you prefer.


Once cooked, rinse the spinach in plenty of cold water. This will retain the vibrant green colour. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can and leave to drain.


Place the roasted mushrooms, peeled roasted garlic, drained spinach and basil leaves in a food processor. Season with black pepper.


Blitz until you have a lovely textured paste. I like to see the small pieces of mushroom dotted in.


Roll into small balls about the size of a cherry tomato. You should be able to make around 14-16 with this amount. Fry in olive oil to give a toasted finish. They are quite delicate and soft so handle carefully.
The olive oil really brings out the roasted mushroom and garlic flavours and gives a better finish than Frylight oil for this job.

***

To make the Pasta & Sauce;


Make courgette/zucchini strips using a julienne peeler or spiralizer. Add the zest of half a lemon.


Put the pasta on to boil according to the instructions on the packaging.


For the final 3-4 minutes of the pasta's cooking time, pop the courgette and lemon zest into a sieve on top of the pasta.
Cover and steam.


While everything is cooking away, crush a fresh garlic clove into a frying pan. Fry gently in a little Frylight oil. You could add a little fresh, chopped red chilli if you like. Add the juice of half a lemon. Stir well.


Turn the heat right down and add the Philadelphia Lightest.


Allow the cheese to melt. Add a little of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen it into a sauce. Not too much though!


Add the steamed courgette to the creamy lemon sauce. Stir to coat evenly.

***

To Serve;


Divide the pasta into two equal portions. Heap into each serving dish.



Coil the beautiful lemony courgette mixture on top and scatter with a few fresh basil leaves.



Finally, dot the fried spinach balls on top.

***

Tuck in!

***

Spinachaliscious.

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Vegetable Curry and 'Rice'


One of the things I love about creating new dishes is the element of surprise and mind 'trickery' that goes along with inventing low fat or even zero propointed recipes. I think its also important to our brains for food to look 'right', then it convinces our stomachs that we have eaten a satisfying meal.

***

At first glance, this looks exactly like a bowl of curry with rice...but this 'rice' is made from grated cauliflower!

This is a wonderful, filling, comforting bowl of food but it is ZERO smartpoints/propoints so perfect for a NoCount day.

(For calorie counters, this recipe works out to approx.220kcal per portion

including the 'rice')

***

You will need:(for 4 large portions)

FOR THE CURRY

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon black onion seeds
1 aubergine
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
8 mushrooms
1 small punnet cherry tomatoes
1 mango
1 banana
1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce
25g bunch fresh coriander
Frylight Sunflower oil
1/2 cup water
500g passata


FOR THE 'RICE'

1 small cauliflower

***



Fry the onion, garlic and curry powder in some Frylight Sunflower oil until soft. Add a little water if the mixture becomes too dry.
Chop up the aubergine, peppers and the mango, leaving them chunky. I like to keep the mushrooms and the tomatoes whole. Add to the pan. All these different textures are very important in a dish like this. Braised in the sauce in this way, the aubergine takes on an almost 'meaty' texture. Add a tablespoon of low salt soy sauce, the black onion seeds, the chopped banana and the passata. The banana acts as a thickening agent for the sauce and gives a slight sweetness to the dish to counteract the spices.
Lastly add the chopped fresh coriander.
Allow to simmer and bubble for about 20-30 minutes until everything is cooked but still has a good 'bite'. Add more water if necessary to make the consistency of sauce you prefer.



While the curry is cooking, grate the cauliflower into a bowl-it still amazes me how much this looks like rice!
If you want to save time, blitz in a food processor.

***

Just before serving, either microwave or steam the cauliflower for approx. 1 minute-just to warm through and take the raw 'bite' away. You could flavour the cauliflower 'rice' with a little lemon zest, dried mint, cinnamon or spice of your choice. I quite like it plain so it acts as a bland 'carrier' for the delicious curry.

Scatter with a few coriander leaves on serving.
Another example of Slice-of-Slim sorcery!

***

TIP
The curry freezes really successfully.

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PRINT RECIPE HERE

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Click HERE to see!
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Thursday, 14 April 2016 - , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Aubergine Cannelloni



This is one of those amazing recipes that just looks fabulous, tastes amazing and is only 6sp/5pp/approx.350kcal for a really generous portion!
Griddled aubergine serves as the carrier for a garlicky, creamy sauce before being piled with fresh spinach and Bolognese sauce. It's then rolled up, topped with grated cheese and oven-baked to become a satisfying dish made to make your mouth water!
It's very easy to make-even better if you have some Bolognese sauce already made and chilled as that's one less job to do! (It's also a great one if you just have some leftover sauce and want to use it up).

Click HERE for a link to my Bolognese recipe-it's the easiest one you'll ever find.
This recipe works beautifully with meat or vegetarian mince so nobody feels left out!

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YOU WILL NEED : (serves 2 generous portions)

2 medium aubergines
60g Philadelphia lightest cream cheese
60g 2% or 0% fat Total yoghurt
1 large clove garlic
black pepper
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
500g Bolognese sauce
(Propoints are calulated from my recipe at 4sp/2pp per portion-you may need to recalculate if you use a different recipe)
25g mature cheddar

***


Start by slicing the aubergines into thin strips about half a centimetre thick. You need 4 slices per person from the middle part of the aubergine. Save all the excess aubergine for another time-you could roast it or add to a curry/stew.


Mist a griddle pan with Frylight oil then chargrill the aubergine slices in 2 batches on both sides until they are golden brown and cooked through. They should be very soft and pliable.


Set on one side to cool slightly. 


In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, yoghurt, crushed garlic and black pepper.


Using a teaspoon, distribute the cream cheese mixture equally between all 8 slices of cooked aubergine.
Spread to cover each slice evenly.


Add a few uncooked spinach leaves to each slice of aubergine.


Drain off any runny liquid from the Bolognese sauce, then distribute equally between the aubergine slices. Spread evenly. It doesn't have to be too perfect-this is a rustic dish.


Carefully but confidently, roll up each slice from the narrow end to form a rolled up 'cannelloni'.


They're more robust than you would imagine and keep their shape well if you place them join-side-down once rolled.


Pack them tightly together into an oven-proof dish. This ensures that they hold their shape when baking. You could put all 8 together in one dish or into 2 separate individual portions if you prefer.


Using a very fine grater, grate the cheddar cheese over the top of the cannelloni rolls. This makes the cheese go much further and will appear to be a generous amount!


Bake for 25-30 minutes at 190C/375F/Gas5 until the cheese is really brown and crispy.


Allow 4 aubergine cannelloni per portion. Garnish with some fresh basil or herb of your choice.

***

Auberliscious!

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PRINT RECIPE HERE


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Penny's Kitchen: Chickpea & Butter Bean Stew with Cauliflower 'Cous-Cous'


As many of you know, I have a dear friend Penny who lives in Cyprus and is a wonderful cook. We spent a week together a while ago, having a 'healthy cook-off'- sharing recipes and inspiring each other with new flavours and ideas.
This stew was one of the first dishes Penny made for me. Little did she know this would be such a great dish for us WeightWatchers as it works out to 7sp/5pp/approx.250kcal for a huge portion and is also
1sp per portion on NoCount(for the stock cubes)/Filling&Healthy/SimpleStart friendly!
This tasty dish is a real winner. It's aromatic and delicious, extremely simple to make, and went down very well with my family when I returned home.
This will be one of my staples from now on.

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YOU WILL NEED:(Serves 4 large portions)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
3 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock made with 2 stock cubes
(Penny uses Oxo cubes, I use the low salt variety)
5 large tomatoes
two 400g tins (235g drained) butter beans
1 400g tin (240g drained) chick peas 

*

For the 'cous-cous'

1 medium cauliflower

***


Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic. Fry gently for a few minutes until the onion is starting to go golden.


Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and dried chilli flakes. Fry the spices with the onion for a couple of minutes just to help develop the flavours.


Add half the stock and the tomatoes which should be roughly chopped, quite chunky.
Add the bay leaves. These are a magical herb. Not only do they give the authentic, tasty Mediterranean flavour, they also help to thicken the sauce somehow.


Simmer for a few minutes.


Add the chickpeas and butter beans.
Give everything a good stir.


Add the rest of the stock. Cover the pan and allow the stew to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
The sauce should be quite thin and soup-like, perfect for the cauliflower 'cous-cous' to absorb.


While the stew is simmering, simply pulse-chop the raw cauliflower in a food processor into chunky breadcrumb-like pieces. (You can grate it if you don't have a machine). Pop into a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Heat through for 2-3 minutes then drain thoroughly in a sieve. The cauliflower should still have a 'bite' to it.


To serve, put a generous amount of cauliflower 'cous-cous' at the base of each serving bowl.Remove the bay leaves then heap the stew on top with plenty of the runny stock.


Sprinkle the top with a little remaining cauliflower for a pretty finish.

***

Beaniliscious!

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TIPS

This stew keeps beautifully in the fridge for a few days. It tastes even better the day after you've made it- it's even yummy cold!

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If you are reheating leftover stew and you find the stock has been absorbed, simply add a little more to the pan to 'loosen' the stew again.

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You could add quite a bit more stock and make it into more of a hearty soup for the Winter.

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For a really filling meal, you could griddle some sausages (vegetarian or meat) and either serve as an accompaniment or add into the stew for a really hearty dish.
(Remember to add the extra propoints/calories if you do this)

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It's also AMAZING with my Celeriac & Garlic Mash as the silky mash soaks up all the gorgeous liquid from the stew.
Click HERE for the recipe.

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PRINT RECIPE HERE

***


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Slice of Slim kitchen!


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