Thursday, 11 February 2016 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

VALENTINE'S DAY: Lemon Meringue & Pistachio Hearts Sharing Dessert


This beautiful Valentine's Day sharing dessert platter is a real feast for the eyes!
I've made oversized heart-shaped meringues flavoured with lemon, rippled with pink and dotted with chopped pistachio nuts.
Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside-perfect for this occasion!
This is such a fun, romantic dessert as you could decorate each others' plates or just have fun chatting while you add your own favourite toppings to your meringue heart.

The meringues work out to 8sp/7pp/approx.220kcal per portion. If you are a little short of propoints, you could halve this mixture and make smaller hearts for 4sp/3pp/approx.110kcal each but I love the oversized decadence of these.


I've chosen to serve my meringue hearts with this wonderful array of finely diced tropical fruits which combine to make a 0sp/0pp exotic fruit salsa…and some sweet treats too just to add a little more decadence!
My daughter bought me this amazing serving dish for Christmas and I've been desperate to use it-but you could serve all these little toppings in mismatched bowls or vintage tea cups and sugar bowls for a gorgeous romantic look!

The toppings shown here add another 4sp/3pp/115kcal per portion to the dessert, but you could tailor-make it to your personal taste/allowance.
(Calorie counters need to add a further 150kcal per portion for the fruit too)

***

 The Lemon Meringue Hearts


YOU WILL NEED:
(Makes 2 generous hearts/4 medium hearts)

2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
zest of an unwaxed lemon

pink food colouring
10 pistachio nuts, chopped

***


Whisk the egg whites until firm. Add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking well to dissolve the sugar. Finally, stir in the lemon zest. This gives the meringue an incredible flavour.


Divide the mixture in half. Dollop onto baking parchment on a baking tray. Shape into 2 large elongated hearts. You could pipe the mixture but I always prefer to shape it like this with a knife for a more rustic, artisan finish.



Have some pink food colouring, a cocktail stick and the chopped pistachios to hand. I just love this colour combination of the pink and green together.



Dot the hearts with food colouring, then swirl it around randomly using a cocktail stick until you have your finished design.



It's really simple and lovely to do- it creates a kind of marbled effect.



Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios then bake at 160C/325F/Gas 3 for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 140C/275F/Gas 1 and bake for a further 30-40 minutes if you want it slightly gooey inside. If you want a crisp meringue, turn the oven off and leave to cool in the oven for an hour or two.

***

The Toppings



YOU WILL NEED : (serves 2)
Please feel free to invent your own toppings!

1/4 fresh pineapple
mixed with 1 passion fruit

1/2 a mango
mixed with some chopped fresh mint

1/2 a papaya
mixed with juice of 1/2 a lime

pomegranate seeds


10g mini marshmallows (2sp/1pp/40kcal)

1/2 a WeightWatchers Belgian Chocolate mousse stirred to make a dipping consistency
(3sp/2pp/80kcal)


1 box mini smarties (4sp/2pp/80kcal)

1/3 Muller Light yoghurt (1sp/1pp/30kcal)
(I used Turkish Delight flavour)

***



To serve, arrange all the elements onto a large platter and decorate with fresh mint. This is a real show stopper!



Pile on those toppings to your heart's desire!

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE

***

Here's a link to my YouTube film to show you the marbling technique!
Click HERE
Monday, 8 February 2016 - , , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Banana, Marshmallow & Cinnamon Pancakes with White Chocolate Drizzle


In my book, if you're going to have pancakes, you need a whole stack. 
Just because we are following a weight loss plan, or maintaining our weight, there is no reason why we can't enjoy a fabulous dessert like this one. I've just applied some of my Slice-of-Slim magic to make it all possible.

***

My stack of 8 pancakes, filled and drizzled with white chocolate sauce is only 8sp/6pp/approx.250kcal per portion.
You can have a half portion for 4sp/3pp but somehow it's just not the same!

***

I've added a banana to my pancake mix to sweeten and make it go further, plus a few sugar-free marshmallows for extra sweetness and decadence. Then, I've mixed extra light cream cheese to some melted white chocolate to create a white chocolate drizzle you will dream about!

***

You Will Need : (For 4 servings)

For The Pancakes:

1 Medium Banana
6 Sugar Free Marshmallows
1 Medium Egg
125g Self-Raising Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon



300ml Alpro Light Soya Milk with Vanilla
(Or Semi-Skimmed Milk)

*

For the White Chocolate Drizzle:

40g White Chocolate
30g Extra Light Philadelphia
A small amount of Soya Milk/Skimmed Milk

*

To Serve:

Raspberries
Blueberries
1 Teaspoon Icing Sugar

***


The Pancakes



Start by blending the banana with the marshmallows in a food processor. The banana should look creamy. Don't worry if small chunks of marshmallow are visible.



Add the egg, sifted flour and cinnamon.
Mix well.



Leaving the food processor switched on, slowly pour the milk into the mixture until you have a lovely batter.



The trick with making pancakes is to organise your workspace. Heat a medium frying pan, mist with some Frylight Oil. Create an area of kitchen paper to place the cooked pancakes onto and have your batter at the ready.



Once the pan is really hot, dollop the mixture  using a measuring tablespoon to make the pancakes. I make 4 at a time to prevent overlapping and risk of them burning.



As soon as bubbles appear on the surface, flip them over using a spatula. (Look at those blobs of marshmallow!) Work quickly as they cook in 20-30 seconds.



They should have a beautiful golden colour.



The second side only needs 10-20 seconds. Once cooked, transfer to the kitchen roll. Mist the pan with Frylight Oil and repeat the process until you have made 32 pancakes. You can pop them on a plate covered with foil in a low oven to keep warm, or reheat in the microwave for a few seconds when you are ready to serve.

***

The White Chocolate Drizzle



Melt the white chocolate.



Add the extra light Philadelphia, mix well then heat gently for a few seconds.
(You can do this in a microwave but watch carefully).



Add a tiny amount of Soya milk/skimmed milk to loosen the sauce.
It needs to be thick but 'drizzleable'.

***

Assembling The Dessert

Now for the exciting part!



Choose a pretty dessert plate. Make a stack of 8 warm pancakes in the centre. I like them uneven and haphazard as it gives
a homemade, wonky appeal.



Using an apple corer, cut a hole through the centre of the pancakes.



Dot the little offcuts of pancake around the plate and fill the central tube with 1/2 a tablespoon of white chocolate drizzle.



Pop 3 or 4 blueberries into the filled tube. Don't worry if the sauce oozes out.



Decorate the rest of the pancake stack and the plate with raspberries and more blueberries.



Using another 1/2 a tablespoon of the sauce, drizzle randomly all over the fruits and around the plate.



Top with a light dusting of icing sugar for a spectacular finish.
(Click HERE for details of Twist and Sprinkle Icing Sugar).



Close your eyes, tuck in and remember that low fat eating has nothing to do with deprivation!

***

Pancake Paradise in White Chocolate Heaven.

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE

***

TIP



You can make the pancakes and the sauce in advance. Reheat gently before assembling.
You can even freeze the pancakes
for up to 1 month.
Saturday, 6 February 2016 - , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Spring Green Rolls


These fabulous Spring green rolls are such a wonderful snack or light meal...packed full of nutritious, fresh ingredients while the outer cabbage casing saves on the carbs contained in a rice paper or bread wrap.

***

I've been influenced by all the oriental foods I love best-these are really a fusion of Chinese Spring rolls, Thai Summer rolls and Japanese sushi!
I've filled these particular rolls with avocado, prawns and thin vegetable strips...but once you've mastered the amazingly simple steaming method I've discovered for the cabbage leaves, you can put any filling you like inside-have fun experimenting!

***

They work out to 5sp/approx.136kcal per portion-including the dips

YOU WILL NEED : (per portion)

Spring green leaves
(either 2 large or 4 small)

50g or 1/2 a small avocado

1/2 a lemon

8 individual cooked king prawns

1 carrot julienned into thin strips

1 spring onion, finely shredded

fresh coriander or basil leaves
black/garlic pepper

For the dips;

1 tablespoon chilli sauce
(This is the hot Chinese sauce. If you use Thai sweet chilli sauce add 1sp/27kcal)

1 heaped teaspoon peanut flour
or
1 level teaspoon reduced fat peanut butter

1 teaspoon warm boiled water

***


Select 2 large or 4 small Spring green leaves.


VERY CAREFULLY, one leaf at a time, hold each leaf by the end of its stalk and steam on both sides for a few seconds by holding over the steam from a boiling kettle spout.
I've been doing some research on YouTube, so I can't claim this method to be mine, but as long as you are really cautious, this is the easiest way to steam the Spring green leaves.
It just makes the leaves a vibrant fresh green colour and softens them beautifully, making them more flexible for rolling.
It also takes away the thick, raw crunchiness of the leaf and makes it more digestible.


Use a clean tea towel or some kitchen paper to gently blot the excess moisture off the leaves.


Flip each leaf over, stalk-side up and gently slice the tough part of the stalk away using a sharp knife.


This trims away the excess bulk and makes the leaves much easier to roll.


Take the first leaf and place on a flat surface,  stalk-side-up. Add some sliced avocado. Squeeze with lemon juice to add flavour and stop it browning.


Next add some julienned strips of carrot and finely shredded Spring onion.
Add fresh herbs-coriander or basil work well.


Top with prawns and season with freshly ground black pepper or garlic pepper.


Now fold the stalk end over into the centre of the wrap.


Fold the opposite side in to slightly overlap.


Keeping everything as tight as possible, roll up, packing any stray ingredients in as you do so.


You should end up with this perfectly pleasing wrap roll! Pop it seam-side down so it doesn't unroll and repeat with each leaf until you've used all the ingredients.


Using either peanut flour or reduced fat peanut butter, mix with a little warm, boiled water until you have a lovely dipping sauce consistency.
Pop into a tiny serving dish.
Put the chilli sauce into a separate tiny serving dish.


Arrange each Spring green roll on a serving plate with both sauces and a wedge of lemon.


If you're feeling confident and a bit 'showy' you can cut each roll in half using a serrated knife.
(A bread knife is perfect for this)


Not only does this reveal the beautiful colours of the filling inside, it also looks like sushi and visually doubles the portion size!


Dip into the sauces and enjoy!
I'm completely obsessed with these at the moment-I'll be trying all sorts of fillings including houmous & falafel and chicken, spinach, pesto & pine nuts-the list is endless!

***

Roll up! Roll up! 

***