Saturday, 28 May 2016 - , , , , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Grilled Halloumi & Pineapple Sticks with Mint, Garlic & Tangerine Dressing


Ok, I apologise.
I grew up in the 60's where cheese and pineapple served on cocktail sticks was the height of sophisticated snacking! (Especially if you covered half a grapefruit in tin foil and poked them into it to make a display).

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Well...actually, there is something to be said for tangy cheese married with sweet pineapple, so I've created a dish to revive and modernise this partnership.
My grilled halloumi and pineapple sticks are tasty, rich and zingy. With the addition of a mouth-watering fresh mint, garlic and tangerine pesto-style dressing to compliment these two main ingredients, your tastebuds will be dancing the night away!

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One of my favourite aspects of this recipe is that there are no added seasonings or flavourings-the taste comes from all the ingredients used; saltiness and creaminess from the cheese, sweetness from the pineapple, freshness from the mint, pungency from the garlic and tangy oils and refreshing juice from the tangerine.
They make a lovely accompaniment to any main dish such as grilled steak, chicken or fish and will grill on the hob or cook on the barbie very well too.

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This serves 2 as a very generous portion, or 3-4 as a starter or small side dish. They also make great appetisers.

 The recipe makes 12 sticks.

They work to
 2sp/1pp/approx.54kcal
per stick


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You Will Need : (Makes 12 sticks)



A 225g block of reduced fat Halloumi cheese.
(Most supermarkets have their own brand which contains 30% less fat than regular Halloumi).

12 large chunks fresh pineapple

12 cocktail sticks

For the dressing:

Generous bunch of fresh mint
2 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 2 tangerines

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Start by dividing the Halloumi equally into 2 halves.



Cut each half into 6 even chunks. Cut the pineapple into the same size chunks. It's important to keep the pieces fairly large so that the cheese remains intact when you thread it onto the cocktail stick.



Thread the pineapple first, then the cheese onto the top. Repeat until you have 12 mini skewers. I'm not normally a perfectionist, but I trim any excess pineapple to make the kebabs really square and even in shape.


Mist a griddle pan with Frylight oil then place the kebabs gently into the hot pan.



Cook for 5 minutes on a medium-high heat until the cheese and pineapple are this beautiful golden colour. Turn gently then cook for 5 minutes on the other side.



While the kebabs are cooking, take your dressing ingredients.



Using a lemon zester, zest the peel from the tangerines into a bowl.
(Click HERE for info).
This releases beautiful, natural oils which make the base for the dressing.



Chop the garlic roughly and strip the leaves off the fresh mint. Pop into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add to the tangerine zest.



Squeeze the juice from the tangerines and add to the mint, garlic and zest mixture. Mix well. This is your simple dressing.



As soon as the kebabs are cooked on both sides, arrange onto your serving dish. They need to be eaten right away as halloumi has a tendency to go a little 'squeaky' in texture if cooked or left for too long.



Spoon the dressing generously over the hot kebabs, allowing the juice and oils to seep onto the plate.



Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.



Serve as an accompaniment to your chosen dish. I served these with a Quorn peppered steak for 3pp/115kcal and some chargrilled whole mini peppers for a vibrant, tasty main course.

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Nothing wrong with a little vintage inspiration! 

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PRINT RECIPE HERE
Friday, 20 May 2016 - , , , , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Chicken Goujons


These chicken goujons make a wonderful light meal with a fresh salad. 
The chicken is succulent and soft whilst the crumpet breadcrumbs provide a rugged, super-crunchy texture to contrast.

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This recipe uses NoCount/Filling & Healthy ingredients, and works out to 10sp/11pp/approx.450kcal per portion for a main meal or 4sp/5pp/225kcal for a light starter size portion.
It's a perfect meal for all ages, everyone loves these!

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You Will Need : For 2 large
or 4 small servings



Two 165g Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 medium egg, seasoned and beaten
1 Batch Crumpet Breadcrumbs
seasoned however you like
(Click HERE for link to recipe)

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Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. 



Cut each chicken breast into chunky strips.



Dip each strip of chicken into seasoned egg.



Pop into the bowl of breadcrumbs.



Coat the chicken in breadcrumbs. Don't worry if you have a few gaps, they look more rustic and home made if they're not too perfect.



Place on a baking tray and repeat until you have coated all the chicken.



Bake for 15 minutes.
While the goujons are cooking, make a simple fresh salad to serve with them.



When the chicken is cooked and the breadcrumbs deliciously crisp and golden, serve and tuck in!

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Deliciously Simple & Simply Delicious!

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PRINT RECIPE HERE

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TIP

Make a batch of the crumpet breadcrumbs when you have a few spare minutes. They will keep in an airtight container for a few days, then are close to hand when you want to make this quick, nutritious meal.
Friday, 6 May 2016 - , , , , , , , 4 comments

RECIPE : Chickpeanuts


These wonderful, tasty, crunchy nibbles are delicious with a drink, as a little snack or yummy scattered onto salads.
The chickpeas are roasted in soy sauce which forms a 'marmitey'-flavoured coating and a crunchy texture.
My little chickpeanuts are low in fat and extremely high in protein so although they may seem high in smartpoints, they are a healthy little snack.

Of course, the best thing about these snacks is that if you are following the NoCount plan they are entirely free-otherwise they work out to 9sp/approx.550kcal for the whole amount, or 5sp/225kcal for half.

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Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6

YOU WILL NEED:

400g(242g drained)can chickpeas in water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic puree
(swap for 1 clove crushed fresh garlic for NoCount)
3 teaspoons low salt soy sauce

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Drain the chickpeas, rinse thoroughly under running water in a sieve to discard the 'soapy' liquid, then drain on some kitchen paper, blotting to remove excess water.


Pop the drained chickpeas into a mixing bowl, add the oil, garlic puree and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce. Mix well to coat thoroughly.


Spread out the seasoned chickpeas on foil in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Roast for around 40-50 minutes checking and turning every 10-15 minutes. Add the remaining soy sauce towards the end of the cooking time, mix well and continue to roast until the chickpeas have a crispy coating.


Allow to cool slightly before serving.
They should have this gorgeous toasted appearance and will crisp up even more as they cool down.


Delicious!

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016 - , , , 1 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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tuck in!

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Spinachaliscious.

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PRINT RECIPE HERE