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!


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.



Saturday, 18 June 2016 - , , , , , , , 12 comments

SMASH & GRAB : Not Pot Noodle!

My son bought a Pot Noodle the other day and made it for lunch. Whereas these days I would probably turn my nose up at his choice, I have to admit that in my youth, it was one of my guilty pleasures!
It did get me thinking...
Those of you rushing around or taking sandwiches to work for lunch might just fancy a change in the form of a nutritious, filling, low-fat, portable, instant hot soup that takes 2 minutes to prepare!
All you need is access to a kettle when you want to eat it.

A Pot Noodle is around 13sp/10pp/400kcal.
My version is 5sp/5pp/approx.180kcal and includes fresh ingredients!


For fun, I used the existing Pot Noodle container. If you are taking this as a portable lunch, it would be preferable to have a lidded container suitable for boiled water, otherwise a large mug is great. You will also need a small plastic, lidded container. I bought a set of 8 of these tiny ones from Poundland.



Into your little container...

...add 1 teaspoon Low Salt Soy sauce...

...half a low salt stock cube, crumbled.

No need to mix it.

With scissors, snip 2 Spring onions into the same box...

...and a few julienned strips of carrot, coiled gently into the top. 

Pack the larger container with 1 packet of Straight-to-Wok Rice noodles.
(At 5sp/4pp/162kcal, these are the lowest in sp/pp's. They are also the finest, so will heat through quickly). If you use a different variety, please check the sp/pp/calories as they all vary.
Add the little box, full of all the magic seasonings and vegetables.
This is easily portable. The large container houses all the ingredients. You could even make this the night before you need it if you are rushing out in the morning.

When you're ready to eat it, simply tip the seasoning ingredients into the large container.
Boil the kettle.

Add a little freshly boiled water and stir thoroughly to dissolve the stock cube.

Add the noodles and cover with hot water.

Mix well and allow to stand for a couple of minutes. This will allow the noodles to heat through and absorb the flavours. The vegetables will soften, losing their raw crunchiness but retain a lovely fresh bite.

Tuck in!

Friday, 10 June 2016 - , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : All-In-One Brekkie

This is an easy-peasy breakfast dish. It combines traditional English breakfast ingredients into a one-pan tortilla/omelette which also houses a fried egg. It's delicious and filling too.
This works out to 5sp/5pp/approx.200kcal
per portion


You Will Need :(Per Serving)

6 mushrooms
6 Cherry tomatoes
1 Spring onion
1 Weight Watchers Cumberland sausage 
2 Heck chicken sausages
1 clove garlic
Fresh Parsley
2 Medium eggs


Fry the sliced mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes in a little Frylight Sunflower oil.

Slice the sausage into 6 chunks and add to the pan. Fry until it starts to brown. Add finely chopped garlic and sliced spring onion.

Once everything has browned and softened, make a circular space in the middle of the pan.

Gently crack the first egg into the circle.

Beat the second egg and season with black pepper. If you prefer, you could use egg white only for this part. This would reduce the total recipe by 2sp/2pp.

Carefully pour the beaten egg around the edge of the fried egg. As it cooks and sets, this will hold all the ingredients together into a tortilla-style omelette.

Pop a lid on the pan and allow to cook gently over a low heat. The steam will cook the top of the fried egg perfectly. I like the yolk runny but you cook to your personal preference.

Once the omelette has set, loosen the finished dish with a spatula so that it will slide pleasingly onto your serving plate. Scatter with chopped, fresh parsley.

Gently transfer to your serving plate.


Breakfast Onesie!


Monday, 6 June 2016 - , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Weight Watchers' Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

I'm going to be totally honest with you (as always!) and will admit that this is not my recipe....its from a wonderful old Weight Watchers book called 'Simply Enjoy'.

You can see how much I like this book by all my little bookmarks for my favourite recipes! The recipe for this salad is on p74. It's literally watermelon, red onion, low-fat feta (30g per portion), lime juice, mint leaves and black pepper.
It's 2sp/2pp/approx.100kcal per portion
and one of the most refreshing and delicious salads I've ever tasted. I could live on it in the Summer....the  zingy lime and the creamy feta combined with the juicy crunch of watermelon, red onion and fragrant mint is incredible....I really wish I had invented it!


The reason for this post is to show you how I present it - especially for eating a natural watermelon bowl that goes in the dustbin afterwards - so, no washing up...what could be better than that? With sunshine so precious, who wouldn't opt for more time in the garden!


How to make the Watermelon Bowls

Slice each end off the watermelon to give each 'bowl' a flat base. If you want to be extra 'arty', cut the tops of each 'bowl' at a slight angle.

Cut as much of the fruit as you can out of the melon, then cube it for the salad.

Scoop out any remaining melon with a spoon so that you are left with two clean bowl shapes.

Combine all of the salad ingredients apart from the feta into a large bowl. Mix gently.

Take the watermelon 'bowls' and slice alternate random stripes into the outside edge using a vegetable peeler. Slice around the top to form a bevelled edge. Don't worry if it's uneven, it looks more organic. They remind me of ceramic, glazed bowls.

Fill each 'bowl' carefully with the salad, then add the weighed, cubed cheese. This way it's easier to be accurate with your portions. Top with a sprig of fresh mint.

 A quarter of this block of very low fat Greek salad cheese is 2sp/2pp/80kcal.

Finally, eat 'al fresco' and enjoy.


A literal 'bowl' of fruit!
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).


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!


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.


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
per stick


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


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.


Nothing wrong with a little vintage inspiration!