Wednesday, 7 September 2016 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE: Wrap-Free Fajita


This is one of those wonderful dishes that just came together from ingredients I happened to have in the fridge!
I love fajitas but it can be quite a performance to make all the different elements, and once thrown into a wrap the Smartpoints and calories can add up pretty fast!
So I decided to make a wrap-free version; same flavours and textures but a little lighter than usual! I love the hot spicy veggies contrasting with the cooling cottage cheese and soothing creamy avocado with a squeeze of zesty lemon.

This is so easy-it can be thrown together within minutes of stepping into the kitchen.

This serves 2 people at 8sp/approx.265kcal  per portion

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YOU WILL NEED : (serves 2)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
pinch dried chilli flakes
OR
substitute dried spices with 1-2 teaspoons pre-mixed fajita spices- you can buy from any supermarket
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 large fresh tomatoes
2 Spring onions

6 tablespoons reduced fat cottage cheese
1 medium avocado
juice of 1 lemon
paprika or sumac to finish

***


Heat the oil in a pan then add sliced onion and chopped garlic. Fry with the spices until softened then add the sliced pepper. Fry for around 5 minutes until soft. Slice the tomatoes into wedges and add to the pan with the sliced Spring onions.
Cook to heat through for a couple of minutes.


Share the hot spicy veggies into 2 portions in serving bowls.


Dot with the cottage cheese
(3 tablespoons per portion)


Then scatter with half an avocado per portion-diced straight from the shell with a generous squeeze of lemon (or lime) to stop it from discolouring.
Sprinkle with a splash of colour-either paprika or sumac, whatever you have.

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That's it! Fajitatastic!

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016 - , , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Heritage Tomato Salad with Avocado


There's an abundance of tomatoes at the moment so whether you have grown your own or bought them cheaply from a supermarket, this simple salad is a delicious, nutritious and refreshing way to serve them.


If you're prepared to spend a few extra pennies and go for some Heritage tomatoes....they will turn this salad from something delicious into something sublime! I just adore all the different shapes and colourways that appear in these boxes of produce. They really do make a difference to this salad as visually they are so exciting not to mention the flavour! This box was around £4 but it made two enormous salads, each enough for 3-4 people as a side dish.

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YOU WILL NEED: (serves 4 as a side salad)

The whole salad comes to 7sp/approx 330kcal so 2sp/approx.83kcal per person

***

4-5 large tomatoes
(Or a selection of Heritage tomatoes)
handful of fresh basil leaves
2 Spring onions
1/2 medium avocado
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
black pepper
tiny pinch salt

***


Select a good variety of shapes, colours and textures of tomato.


 Start by slicing the largest, most open structured tomato and layer at the bottom of a large serving bowl.


Slice the remaining tomatoes and layer on top.


Scatter with basil leaves and a tiny pinch of salt. I very rarely use salt but this just enhances the flavours of the tomatoes.


Chop the Spring onions finely at an angle then sprinkle over the tomatoes.


Halve the avocado. Peel one half and slice as finely as possible into ribbon-like pieces. Toss in lemon juice then scatter over the salad. Wrap the remaining half including the stone in clingfilm to stop it going brown, then refrigerate.


Finally, splash one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and one teaspoon of olive oil over the salad to gently bring out the natural flavours in these gorgeous, simple ingredients. Add a generous grind of black pepper. Mix gently on serving.

This makes a lovely accompaniment to any grilled meat or fish, or a delicious light starter.

***

Tomatoliscious.

***

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 - , , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Chicken, Pear & Feta Toasted Stack with Wasabi Total Greek Yoghurt


Sandwiches don't need to be boring!
 I've mixed wasabi paste and Nigella seeds into Total yoghurt to make a hot, fragrant condiment. Then, I've layered up a toasted wrap with chicken, pear and Greek light salad cheese (based on low fat Feta)to make an enormous stacked sarnie! It will feed one very hungry person or two as a light snack.

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 1-2 people)

7sp/9pp/approx.398kcal for 1 portion
or 3sp/5pp/199kcal per portion
if shared between 2

***

1 Square white wrap
(I use the Warburtons one at 4sp/4pp/159kcal)

100g Total 0% Greek Yoghurt
 wasabi paste (to your personal taste)
2 teaspoons Nigella seeds

50g cooked chicken, sliced
1 red pear, cored and sliced (skin on)
30g Greek light salad cheese

rocket leaves

***


Cut the wrap into 4 pieces and toast. Don't worry if it curls slightly as this adds to the presentation!


Add the wasabi paste and 1 teaspoon Nigella seeds into the Total Greek Yoghurt. I put around 2-3cms of wasabi from the tube but add to your personal preference. Mix well.


Place the first piece of toasted wrap onto your serving plate and dollop with 1/4 of the yoghurt mixture.


Add some rocket or salad leaves of your choice before placing the second piece of toasted wrap on top.


Spread with another quarter of the Total Greek Yoghurt mixture.


Add half the chicken and pear with crumbled cheese to this layer, saving half the ingredients for the next layer.


Repeat so that you have another layer of toasted wrap, chicken, pear and cheese. Save a slice of chicken and pear for the top. Allow some of the crumbled cheese to fall onto the plate in random scatters.


Top the final piece of toasted wrap with the remaining Total Greek Yoghurt mixture, a couple of rocket leaves and a little chicken and pear. Finally scatter the stack with some Nigella seeds allowing some to fall onto the plate.



This is one monumental sandwich but is easier to eat than you might imagine...



...as the layers can easily be separated again to be enjoyed.

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Totally Wasabiliscious!

***


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Please note; All my opinions are my own however this blog post has been sponsored as it was part of a promotional campaign with TOTAL yoghurt
Friday, 12 August 2016 - , 0 comments

GADGETS & GIZMOS : Spiralizers!


I'm not one for gadgets for the sake of gadgets so I'm pretty selective about the equipment I choose for my kitchen, storage being a huge factor to consider...but one gizmo I would not be without is my spiralizer!
For anyone on a healthy eating quest or keen to keep variety alive in their diet, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that this is one thing your kitchen should not be without.
I'm very lucky to own two spiralizers...and I will tell you what I love about each of them, then you can decide which one is for you.


The first one I bought is this one from Lakeland. I made the mistake of buying a cheap one originally but the handle literally snapped off the first time I used it. I also had a basic metal one but it needed oiling after every use-so a bit of a pain.
This one still looks pretty cheap as it is made of plastic but is as strong as an ox. It also has suction pads on the base to stop it wobbling around. It's great even for butternut squash 'boodles' which are probably one of the toughest veggies to spiralize.
It has a sharp tube to fix the vegetables onto on one end and plastic spikes to grip the other end by the handle, so your fingers are well protected from the blades.


This one comes with 3 separate blades but to be honest I only use the basic noodle spiralizing one. It's really easy to use and more importantly, to clean. It also takes up very little space in a cupboard.

***

The Lakeland spiralizer is normally £29.99 but is often on special offer so do your research before buying.

Click HERE for a link to the online shop

***


You may have seen my delicious spiralized recipe in a recent issue of WeightWatchers magazine. I co-write a monthly column with two gorgeous girlies, food bloggers Laura and Lou.


For this feature we were asked to use the Oxo Good Grips hand-held spiralizer which is sold in WeightWatchers meetings and in their online shop.
I have tried other hand-held spiralizers before and have not been particularly impressed as some tend to squash the strands of vegetable coming out and produce a really unsatisfactory result.


I found this one to be excellent as the blade is sharp enough to deal with hard vegetables. Courgette and cucumber are extremely easy to spiralize in this device as they fit comfortably into the housing. Anything larger such as butternut squash or apples will require cutting down so that is one slight disadvantage-and you do need quite a bit of upper arm strength for this one.
However, Laura's "Tip from the Top" is to twist the spiralizer instead of the vegetable...making life much easier apparently!
Thanks Laura x


I like the feature which protects your fingers as you reach the short end of the vegetable. The lid has little spikes to grip the vegetable you are spiralizing so there is very little waste.

***

At £14.95
(or at the time of publishing this post
it is on offer at £11.20),
this one is half the price of the Lakeland machine so a great one to start with and literally fits in a drawer it is so small.

Click HERE for a link to the online shop

***

I probably use either one of my spiralizers most days- I find that these thin strands of vegetables are a versatile and enjoyable way to eat large quantities of veggies without it feeling like a chore! 
Here are a couple of my favourite spiralized recipes for you to try
(click on the links to read);





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Happy Spiralizing!

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Please note: All the views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not paid or sponsored to review these products.

RECIPE : Aubergine 'Caviar'


This delicious, soft, pungent aubergine dip, (also known as Baba Ghanoush), originates from the Middle East. There are many, many variations of this dish. It can be easily modified and adapted to your personal taste by adding various spices or fresh chopped herbs, diced onion or tomato.
I like to keep mine very simple by adding purely lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. As this is a Slice-of-Slim version, I have reduced the oil to a minimum, so the WHOLE amount (enough for 2 generous portions), is only 2sp/1pp/approx.260kcal.
(You will need to charge 1sp/1pp if you eat half this amount).

***

You Will Need: (For 2 portions)

2 aubergines
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
1 teaspoon olive oil
Black pepper

***



Place the aubergines on a baking tray (prick a few times with a fork otherwise they can explode!) Bake for 50-60 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade.



When they come out of the oven, they look like they have 'capsized'. They are shrunken and very soft. Allow to cool before handling.



Slice open the aubergines and scoop out the soft, baked filling with a spoon. The reason this dish is sometimes called 'caviar' is because the seeds resemble tiny eggs.


Pop the aubergine flesh into a bowl and add the crushed garlic, a measured teaspoon of olive oil and the lemon juice to taste. Mash with a fork to blend everything together. Season with black pepper.
If you want it to have a smoky flavour, add some smoked paprika. Freshly chopped parsley or coriander enhances this dip too.



Put into a serving bowl and garnish with fresh herbs.



If you have some spare smartpoints/propoints, I highly recommend serving this with some pita bread, bread sticks or a Warburtons Squareish wrap which has been cut into square 'crackers', sprayed with Frylight oil and baked for 12-15 minutes. One wrap makes enough for 2 people at 2sp/2pp/80kcal per portion.
Otherwise, serve with a selection of raw vegetables.

***

This may be known as "Poor man's caviar", but it tastes a million dollars to me!


***

PRINT RECIPE HERE
Saturday, 9 July 2016 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Bang Bang Chicken Lettuce Cups


Bang Bang Chicken is a spicy Chinese dish that gets its name from the "bang bang" of the wooden spoon traditionally used to flatten the chicken before shredding!

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As usual, I've made up my own version of this tasty dish for you using slimmed-down ingredients. Its faff-free, simple and delicious-think of a cold chicken-satay type flavour and you're well on the way to imagining this scrumptious offering.
The thick peanutty sauce coating the chicken is balanced with fresh strips of cool cucumber and carrot and everything is then loaded into lettuce cups for a refreshing light meal.

It works out to 5sp/6pp/approx.300kcal per serving

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Per serving)

For the Bang Bang Chicken

20g reduced fat peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons hot, boiled water
1/4 of a medium-hot red chilli
2 tablespoons Total 0% fat Greek yoghurt
65g cooked chicken, finely shredded/sliced
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

For the Lettuce Cups

1 gem lettuce
1 small carrot
1/3 of a cucumber

***


Measure the reduced fat peanut butter into a small mixing bowl.


Add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water from the kettle to thin down the peanut butter and form a thick coating sauce.


Chop the fresh chilli finely and add to the peanut butter mixture. Make it as spicy as you like. Add more or less chilli according to your personal taste.


Add the Total yoghurt according to your personal taste-if you want the sauce less spicy and more creamy, add 2 tablespoons. If you prefer more peanut and chilli flavours, add less yoghurt. If it looks very thick, add a little cold water to thin it down. It needs to be a lovely smooth coating sauce for the chicken.


Cut the cooked chicken into very fine little strips and add it into the peanut sauce.


Cut the carrot into fine strips using a julienne peeler. Add to the chicken and peanut sauce. Mix well until everything is coated evenly. Add black pepper to taste. You could also add a little lime juice to give it a zing.


Cut the bottom off the gem lettuce. Separate the leaves and arrange on your serving plate.


Once you are happy with the flavours in the bang bang chicken mixture, dollop generously into the lettuce cups.


Finally, scatter the surface with julienned cucumber strips for a pretty and refreshing topping.


You can eat this in your fingers using the lettuce cups to act as little green crunchy wraps enclosing the creamy, spicy, peanut coated chicken.

Yum!

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