Monday, 27 October 2014 - , , , , , , , 0 comments

HALLOWEEN!! : 'Melted' Apples

I'm a great one for devising alternative sweet treats for occasions such as Halloween and this simple low fat idea appeals to adults and children alike! 
My 'melted' apples make a delicious snack or warm dessert served on their own or with some natural yoghurt.
They look like toffee apples that have melted and gone a little wonky for Halloween...Infact, they are simply slow-baked apples in their own natural 'toffee', dusted with a light shimmer of icing sugar.
The sticks are purely for decoration as the apples are too soft to stay perched on the top. 

My 'melted' apples are 0pp/approx.55kcal each



Small eating/garden apples
1 teaspoon icing sugar

Simply wash the apples and leave whole. 
Place on a baking tray.

Make a hole in each apple. This is to insert the stick into once baked.
I used a chopstick.

Bake at 150C/300F/Gas2 for around 2 hours until the apples are really soft and the skin  has hardened but isn't burnt. Some natural syrup will leak out of the apples.

While still hot, scoop up some of the syrup and place onto the apples. This will go crisp when cooled and tastes of burnt toffee.
Place sticks into the holes in the apples.

Pop the apples carefully into cupcake cases. Dust lightly with icing sugar through a fine sieve. (A tea strainer is ideal for this). 

You'll need 1 teaspoon of icing sugar for up to about 10 apples-it only needs to be a very fine layer.

Serve slightly warm as a pudding or outside in the cold Autumnal air-you can eat them with your fingers by holding onto the stalk but take care as they are very soft!


Sweet little apples!



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Tuesday, 21 October 2014 - , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Celeriac & Garlic Mash

I'm completely in love with this mash at the moment! Now the weather is changing, those cravings for comfort foods are setting in fast, so it's important to find ways to satisfy them without sabotaging our efforts.


I find that this celeriac and garlic mash ticks all the boxes for me-it's bland, creamy and has the perfect thick, smooth texture for carrying sauces and gravies-almost turning silky when drenched in a broth-like liquid.
It's very easy to make and even better-it's 0pp/approx.95kcal per portion!
Very easy to covert to Filling&Healthy or SimpleStart too-simply swap the very low fat spread for olive oil from your daily allowance.


YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 2 generous portions)

Half a medium celeriac
1 large clove garlic
2 teaspoons very low fat spread
(Substitute for 2 teasp. olive oil if doing F&H or SS)
1 tablespoon Total 0% yoghurt
Black pepper


Wash the celeriac then peel using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Dice into large chunks then pop into a pan with boiling water.

Add the peeled garlic clove to the water. This adds a little sweetness and counteracts the slightly sour taste of the celeriac once cooked.

Cook for approx. 15 minutes until you can insert a knife easily into the celeriac. Drain well then pop back into the pan.

Measure the very low fat spread and add to the hot celeriac.

Measure the Total yoghurt and add to the pan.

Season well with lashings of coarsely ground black pepper.

Use a hand blender, masher or food processor to blend to a lovely smooth consistency. Unlike potato, the celeriac responds well to being blended-it won't go 'gluey'.

Heap onto your plate with your chosen main dish-sausages and gravy, stew etc.

My favourite way to serve this mash is with Chickpea and Butterbean stew- a fabulous Winter warmer!
(Click HERE for recipe)






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Thursday, 16 October 2014 - , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Aubergine Cannelloni

This is one of those amazing recipes that just looks fabulous, tastes amazing and is only 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!


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 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.






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Thursday, 9 October 2014 - , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : WeightWatchers Hot Chocolate Flavours

These new hot choccies from WeightWatchers are just a little bit yummy!
They have managed to capture the flavours of

'Cappuccino Cream Cake'

 'Jaffa Cake'

and 'Chocolate Cherry Brownie'
really well in powder form.

Personally, I find the hot chocolate quite watery when made into a drink so I often add a tiny splosh of milk on the top to enhance the appearance and flavour.
You use 3 heaped teaspoons with a mug of boiled water for a lovely 1pp/38kcal chocolate fix. Each sachet contains 8 servings. They are £1.49 per bag and are often on a deal if you buy two at a time.


Remember these flavoured powders make a great addition to low fat natural yoghurt or frozen banana 'icecream' for a fabulous low propointed dessert. Just add the powder dry and mix well.
Click HERE for a link to the banana 'icecream' recipe.



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 recently, 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 5pp/approx.250kcal for a huge portion and is also 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.


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.





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!


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.


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


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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Wednesday, 1 October 2014 - , 2 comments

Food for Thought : A Few Refreshing Changes

There's nothing as refreshing as a few days away. So when my good friend who lives in Cyprus asked me if I'd like to stay with her for a week, how could I possibly say no?
What I didn't realise was that I could learn so much in a few days..and these small changes will be put into practice now I'm home.


Although I'm very well-versed on the subject of the WeightWatchers plan and my focus is on low-fat and low-salt recipes, I realise that I could still eat more nutritionally-balanced meals from time to time and perhaps snack a little less.

My friend Penny is very well read on the subject of food, nutrition and digestion. She loves to eat healthily and adores food-but doesn't have that obsession with it like I do. So it was really interesting for me to spend a few days with someone who knows when they are full up, doesn't crave food the whole time and naturally knows how to eat!

This may sound crazy to you but because my life has revolved around weight loss, maintenance and tracking everything I've eaten for the past 4 years, I found the whole experience pretty interesting. So, I decided to keep a photographic food journal of everything we cooked and ate during that week. I continued to track and Penny ate as she always does. At the end of the week, we both felt fantastic, had eaten like kings and each lost 3lbs!
(We had both intended to lose a couple of excess pounds).

We also had a few treats not shown here-chocolate, crisps or icecream most days!

So here's what we ate. The breakfasts look repetitive because I've used the same image-but we had a variety of fresh fruit/vegetable juices every morning on an empty stomach. This was followed by a Mediterranean style breakfast of hard boiled egg, tomatoes and cucumber, which I really enjoyed-but we could have varied it if we had chosen to.

The fresh juicing is the first change I've implemented since I got home. In the past, I resented having to use a couple of propoints for a fruit/vegetable juice, but the sense of well-being I felt after 2-3 days was immense and I realised how much good it was doing my digestive system. 

I'm not someone who believes in gadgets for the sake of gadgets, but a juicer is well worth the investment.

I won't go through every dish but we ate hearty meals, large portions of fresh produce each day.

If we ate a large lunch, we'd have a delicious salad for dinner and vice-versa. We never felt hungry.

The fresh food costs were slightly cheaper in Cyprus than in the UK, but we were not extravagant and if we had sea bass or salmon one day, we'd have a chickpea stew the next to balance out the costs. We wasted nothing.

The next lesson I learnt was to up my intake of water. Penny noticed that I always went to make a cup of coffee or tea if I was thirsty and drank very little pure water.
This is another habit I've put into practice since I got home. I try to drink about 5-6 glasses a day. We all know we should be doing this but it's worth actually noting our habits.

The most life-changing one for me though, is this one!
Because fruit is 0pp on the propoints plan, I  previously ate huge amounts of it especially as a dessert after meals and as a way to fill myself up in the evenings...

Penny's knowledge of digestion meant that she could advise me that eating fruit AFTER a meal is not a good idea as it digests faster than other foods-therefore sits on top of the meal you've just eaten causing flatulence! Enough said!!!
All I can say is that by eating fruit on an empty stomach mid-morning or afternoon and maybe in not such vast quantities, my body feels so much more comfortable. Not only my life but the lives of everyone in my family have been improved as my digestive system is calmer and happier!


I'll be bringing you some of the delicious recipes we cooked over the next few weeks.


Little changes can make a big difference!


Have you seen my YouTube channel yet?
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Slice of Slim kitchen!

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