USEFUL STUFF : Yonanas Frozen Fruit 'Ice-cream' Machine


After much consideration, I have finally succumbed to a Yonanas frozen dessert maker!
I decided that, having dedicated so much time this Summer to my Slicecream Parlour, creating some amazing 'ice-creams' from frozen banana, my poor food processor needed a break!


I'm not one for buying unnecessary kitchen gadgets, there are so many possibilities - a gadget for virtually any job - and storing them can be a problem...but this little machine really does 'what it says on the tin'. It takes up very little standing and storage space too, which is a big plus in my book.


 It's basically an electric motor and a feeding tube for the frozen fruit. This houses the clever patented blades that do all the hard work.


The bananas can be peeled before freezing, or frozen in their skins.
(Even though the Yonanas instructions say to peel them before freezing, it's very easy to cut the skin off with a knife prior to popping in the machine, especially if left for ten minutes as advised).
Any other frozen fruits you use should also be left for around ten minutes before being put through the machine.


What would take around ten minutes in a regular food processor takes literally seconds in the Yonanas machine. As you feed the fruit in, out comes perfectly-textured 'ice-cream'.
It reminded me of my Playdoh machine I had as a child, which I also loved!

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 The wonderful thing for people following the WeightWatchers plan, is that these desserts made with pure fruit are zero smartpoints.
It's a really healthy and fun way for children to enjoy fruit too. I reckon this is probably paradise for babies and parents alike at those terrible teething times, as the 'ice-cream' is not 'screamingly' cold and has a texture like perfect soft-scoop ice-cream, lovely and soothing for sore gums. 


You can add flavours (such as squares of chocolate) into the feeding chute with frozen banana, to produce chocolate chip 'ice-cream', or stir cocoa or drinking chocolate, cinnamon or other flavours of your choice into the processed banana afterwards.
The permutations are endless!


One of the machine's best qualities, apart from being brilliant at what it's designed to do, is that it's incredibly easy to clean afterwards, and is dishwasher proof.
Once you take it apart, there is always a bonus build up of 'ice-cream' lurking in the shoot and behind the white cone that houses the blades. I would then advise that you give all the parts a quick rinse immediately after use, as dried banana is a nightmare to wash off. Even if you are going to put it in the dishwasher, give it a thorough rinse first.

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If you decide to buy one, you should find it for around £49.99. I bought mine from Robert Dyas, but Amazon and some of the TV shopping channels sell it here in the UK too.

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If you're looking for recipe inspiration, here's a link to all my Slicecream Parlour ideas.
(Click HERE for link and scroll through).

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Monday, 29 May 2017 - , , , , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Aubergine Kiev


When I was creating my chicken kiev recipe the other day, I realised that vegetarians are missing out on a fabulous dish ! I know you can buy vegetarian versions which try to impersonate chicken, but I wanted to come up with something a little more original. 
I had a think about how I could do it and realised that a small aubergine cut in half is a similar size to a chicken breast. Aubergine has a quality like no other vegetable too-it has a soft,'meaty' texture when cooked and left unpeeled, holds its shape really well.
This vegetarian version is made in exactly the same way as you would make a chicken kiev, it just takes a little longer to cook.
Another huge benefit for a WeightWatcher is that it's a 0sp/pp filling vegetable so this becomes an amazingly economical dish for us!

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My Aubergine kiev works out to ;
3sp/2pp/approx.100kcal for one kiev
6sp/5pp/approx.200kcal for two kievs

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You Will Need : (For 2 Kievs)

1 small-medium Aubergine
2 slices WeightWatchers White Danish Bread
1 egg white
(or 2 tablespoons 2 chicks egg white)
Two 10g portions low fat spread 
(I used Tesco Olive Light. This is 1pp/35kcal for 10g. Please check pp/kcal if you use a different brand)
1-2 cloves garlic
Dried Herbs
Black Pepper
Frylight Oil


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Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.



Start by weighing 10g low fat spread per portion accurately into a small ramekin dish. If you are making more than one Aubergine Kiev, use a separate pot for each portion.


Crush the garlic into the pot. If you like this dish really garlicky, use one clove of garlic per person. For a milder flavour, half a clove is enough.


Add herbs and black pepper. Mix together thoroughly.



Take the aubergine. Remove the leaves and stalk. Cut in half horizontally so that you have 2 even pieces.




Make a slit half way up the aubergine. This needs to be wide enough to pack the garlic mixture inside and deep enough to reach the centre. It's not very flexible, so you will need to pull it open slightly.



 Fill the hole with the mixture using a teaspoon, then push it as far into the middle of the aubergine as you can with your finger. 


Pop the bread into a food processor and blitz until you have fine breadcrumbs.


Prepare 2 bowls-one for the egg white and one for the breadcrumbs.


Close up the hole in the side of the aubergine. Dip into the egg white, coating evenly.


Transfer to the breadcrumbs, coating generously.


The breadcrumbs will sit better on the flat surface of the aubergine, so coat the bottom, but use a generous amount on the top.


Transfer to a baking sheet, mist with Frylight oil and bake flat-side-up for 40-45 minutes until the aubergine is really soft and the topping is beautifully golden.



The garlic butter mixture will disperse evenly throughout the absorbant flesh of the aubergine, infusing it with delicious, pungent flavours. You will end up with soft, delicate aubergine contrasted with a crispy, crunchy breadcrumb topping. It really is quite divine!


They are delicious served like this with a fresh salad. You could make some roasted butternut squash chips too.
(Click HERE for how to make Butternut Squash chips).
Alternatively, serve with spaghetti and a simple tomato sauce which is equally delicious.

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Happiness on a plate.

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017 - , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Warm Sumac Salmon with Rocket, Sweet Pickled Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad


This stunningly beautiful dish is an exotic and exciting fusion of flavours, textures and visual delights. The soft tones of pink and green compliment each other to the extent that it really has to be appreciated before consumption!
The soft, warm, citrusy salmon sits on a bed of sweet, crunchy pickled cucumber and peppery rocket, whilst the pomegranate seeds pop on the roof of your mouth releasing a sweet, tangy juice.
At 7sp/6pp/approx.350kcal, its a lovely lunch or light supper dish.


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You will need:(per portion)


One 130g salmon fillet
Sumac (see post; CUPBOARD LOVE:SUMAC)
Fresh rocket leaves
Pickled cucumber(See post; RECIPE:Pickled Vegetables served with Chargrilled Beef)
Half a fresh pomegranate
Chopped fresh herbs- parsley, chives etc
Black Pepper
Lime juice


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 Place some greaseproof paper onto a piece of foil and spray with a little Frylight sunflower oil. Pop the salmon fillet on the paper and sprinkle liberally with sumac and freshly chopped parsley, or any seasoning of your choice. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.
Wrap the salmon in the foil making a secure parcel. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade.


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While the salmon is baking, make up the salad. Arrange a generous handful of rocket into the serving bowl. Slice the pickled cucumber into slender chunks and de-seed the pomegranate.
I always use Nigella's method; Cut the pomegranate in half. Put the cut side of the fruit into the palm of your hand and hit the outside of the fruit quite firmly with a wooden spoon over a bowl. The seeds fall through your fingers into the bowl leaving the inedible parts in your hand to be discarded.


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Once cooked, remove the salmon from the oven and allow to cool a little. Gently break the salmon by hand into large, chunky flakes on top of the salad. Sprinkle on some more sumac (the flavour is more pungent uncooked).
Dress the salad with some of the sweet pickled cucumber marinade. Add some more freshly chopped herbs and top with the pomegranate seeds. 


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Simply divine.


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HANDY TIP


If you don't have any homemade pickled cucumber, don't be tempted to use shop-bought ones as they are far too strong and acidic. Just slice or julienne some fresh cucumber and toss in some chinese rice wine vinegar sweetened with some artificial sweetener and seasoned with white pepper.




PRINT RECIPE HERE
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - , , , , , , 1 comments

MOTHER'S DAY : Blueberry, Vanilla & Lavender Cakes with Rose Creme Fraiche


I came up with this pretty little tea time treat especially for Mother's Day.
It's very simple to make, so you can really go to town on the decorations.

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These fat-free sponge cakes are fantastic- the way they are baked means that the delicious blueberry filling is incorporated into the cakes.
I've added some vanilla and lavender to give a sweet floral hint...then made a rose-flavoured creme fraiche to serve with them.
It's Springtime on a plate, scattered with edible rose petals.

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This works out to an unbelievable 4sp/2pp/approx.130kcal per portion-this includes a cake and a portion of creme fraiche.
(Two portions is 8sp/5pp/260kcal)

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YOU WILL NEED : (Makes 4 servings)

1 medium egg
25g caster sugar
25g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon edible lavender
(I bought mine in the herb/spice section at Waitrose)
100g blueberries

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120g reduced fat creme fraiche
2-3 teaspoons rose essence
2-3 teaspoons artificial granular sweetener
Edible dried rose petals
(I bought these in Waitrose too!)
12 fresh raspberries

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4


Choose a muffin tray or one like this that will make 8 individual-sized cakes.
(You need 2 per finished cake).
Cupcake cases will work too if you don't have a tray. Mist with Frylight oil to prevent sticking.


Distribute the blueberries evenly, forming a flat layer on the base of each shape.


Whisk the egg and sugar together. An electric hand whisk is best for this. It will take a few minutes and needs to increase in volume by 3 or 4 times.


You will know when it is ready because the mixture will become pale and frothy. When you lift the whisk out it should leave a light trail.


Sift the flour into the bowl. Add the lavender and vanilla extract.


Fold in the flour very gently using a metal spoon so that you don't knock out all the air you created with the whisk. Make sure the flour is incorporated well.


Distribute the cake mixture equally between each portion. You only need a small amount just to cover the blueberries.


Pop into the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. This will vary according to whether you have used a metal muffin tray, paper cases or a silicone mould so check carefully. The cakes should be golden and firm to touch when cooked. They will be quite flat on top.
Leave to cool slightly in the tray.


While the cakes are cooling, mix the rose essence and sweetener into the creme fraiche. Play around with the flavours until they suit your personal taste.


Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the cakes and lift out carefully. The blueberries will be very soft underneath.


Pop each one sponge-side down on a wire cooling rack.



Any little remnants of blueberry that get left behind can be scooped out and popped back onto the cakes. 


I just love these vibrant purples and pinks that form! The smell is warm, fruity and vanilla-laden...home baking at its best.

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To Serve


If you like my little extra touches, cut some pretty string to decorate the cakes.
(They will hold together beautifully on their own if you don't want to use string).

I have a real thing for vintage plates and teacups too-especially mis-matched ones, where each person has a different collection of patterns and colours.
This kind of theme lends itself well to Mothers Day. I'm very lucky as I've inherited all sorts of vintage china from my great aunt. I really treasure them and use them all the time.


Put one cake fruit-side-up onto your serving plate on top of the string.


Place a second one on top fruit-side-down.
This makes your little mini self-filled cake!


Tie a bow around the cake with the string.


If you're feeling really decadent, you could thread a fresh flower through the bow to finish. If you make these later in the year, you could add a sprig of fresh lavender instead to continue the flavour theme.


Now take some fresh raspberries and place 3  in the base of each of your bowls or teacups.


Divide the rose creme fraiche equally between each portion (30g each). Dollop on top of the raspberries then sprinkle with a few dried rose petals.


Finally scatter a few more rose petals onto the plate.
Serve as a delicious, healthy alternative to a cream tea-so feminine and fun.

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A token of love.

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TIPS

If you don't like the floral elements, or find it hard to get hold of the ingredients, just use some lemon zest, poppy seeds, orange essence, lemon curd-whatever appeals to you.

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You could put the flavoured creme fraiche inside the cakes between the layers of blueberries, instead of serving on the side.

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You could multiply this recipe and make two large cakes to sandwich together.
(You could still tie string around individual slices!)

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This would be a lovely Valentines idea too.

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