Monday, 31 December 2012 - 2 comments

HAPPY NEW YEAR !


I'm signing off for this year, so here are some celebratory chocolate-dipped strawberries to remind us all that we can keep the joy of food alive in low-fat foods.

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Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and look forward to inspiring you all in 2013 with loads more tasty ideas and fun creations!

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Thanks to all of you for your regular visits to the blog...

Much love, Janey
Slice-Of-Slim
x x x
Saturday, 29 December 2012 - , , , , , 1 comments

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Dragon Fruit Salad with Rose & Mint


After all the heavy eating at this grey time of year, I thought it would be great to introduce some healthy tropical sunshine in the guise of a dessert.
This simple but completely stunning fruit  salad only takes a few minutes to make.

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Simply mix raspberries, strawberries and green grapes with a couple of teaspoons of rose essence and some torn fresh mint leaves. The rose gives a perfumed hint to the soft fruits while the mint refreshes and cleanses the palate.


 Although a little bland in flavour, dragon fruit is visually exquisite and turns an ordinary dish into a designer dessert.
Cut the fruit into sections, leaving the skin on, then loosen the flesh with a knife, leaving it attached at one end. Arrange the slices around the dish.


Finally, top with a sprig of fresh mint and some pomegranate seeds for a bejewelled finish.

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Wow!
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - , 1 comments

Food For Thought : Healthy Colours


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
While I was preparing and photographing some of the foods I made for our lunch, it struck me how sumptuous, rich and vibrant the colours were in many of the low fat or 0pp foods I had made. The bland or brown-coloured foods such as potatoes and Yorkshire puddings tended to be the ones with higher propoints or calories. With the majority of our plates filled with these bright rainbow tones, the meal looked and tasted exciting and delicious....proving that these kinds of dishes can help us to keep the joy of food alive even if we are sticking to a low fat plan.

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Think VIBRANT!


A gift of veggies pickled in sweet dill vinegar for my sister...


Even the Brussels sprouts
were dancing for joy!
Thursday, 20 December 2012 - , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : White Balsamic Condiment


This white Balsamic condiment is delicious for salad dressings- especially where you want that rich, sweet, traditional balsamic flavour but without adding any colour to your chosen dish. 
An example of where I might use this would be a dressing for coleslaw, where I mix vinegar with light Mayonnaise and a little artificial sweetener and black pepper. Traditional brown Balsamic vinegar would make the dressing look unappetising, so this is a great alternative without compromising on flavour.
This product contains concentrated grape juice to sweeten the vinegar, so you can have up to 1 tablespoon for 0pp. More than that and you have to charge propoints for it.
Each tablespoon contains 12 kcal.

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 - , , , , , , 3 comments

RECIPE : Apple Rose & Vanilla Custard Tarts


These beautiful little apple custard tarts, inspired by Christmas roses, are simple to make and extremely low in propoints/calories.
You can have; 
Up to 3 of these for 1pp/approx.60kcal
Up to 5 for 2pp/approx.100kcal
Up to 7 for 3pp/approx.140kcal
Up to 10 for 5pp/Approx.200kcal

Delightful served as part of a selection of desserts, or with a cup of tea, these are sure to wow your guests without sabotaging your weight loss or maintenance efforts.
Crisp pastry houses my delicate vanilla and rose-infused white custard, topped with a cinnamon-dusted sweet apple rose. The red roses are chewy and firm whilst the white ones are soft and delicate.
It's a little piece of Heaven on a plate!

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YOU WILL NEED: (Recipe makes 10 tarts)


1 16g sheet Filo Pastry

(I used this brand as they come in smaller sheets than JusRol filo. You can use half a large sheet. Please check propoints if you are using a different brand. This brand is 1pp per sheet).

5 Red Apples
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
150ml skimmed milk /unsweetened soya milk
1 tablespoon Artificial Granular Sweetener
1 tablespoon Cornflour
1 teaspoon Rose essence
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/fresh vanilla pod
Frylight Oil
Kaffir or Basil Leaves
Tiny Dusting of Icing Sugar

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How To Make the Apple Roses



Start by peeling the apples using a vegetable peeler. Make the lengths of peel as long as possible.



Take one end of the peel and coil it tightly to form a 'rose'.



Pop each rose into a tiny tart mould to hold its shape.



Repeat until you have made a few.



Dust with a little cinnamon and artificial sweetener and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade.
The roses made from the peel will have a more chewy/toffee texture and will take longer to bake than the ones made from purely apple flesh, so give the red ones a 10 minute head start in the oven.



Repeat the process with the white apple flesh. Sprinkle with sweetener and cinnamon before popping in the oven for 10 minutes.



 Don't cook the white ones for too long as they will go mushy and won't retain their shape.
Remove from the oven and set to one side.



Any remaining apple can be stored in an airtight food bag and used for a strudel filling,(click HERE for recipe), or in a fruit salad.

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How To Make The Pastry Cases



Take the sheet of filo pastry and, using scissors, cut it into 30 even squares.



Just keep popping the cut stacks on top of each other and cut through a few at a time.



Using a tiny tart mould, simply place one square of filo in each tart case. Mist with Frylight oil, then repeat twice more. Each tart should have 3 layers of pastry. Press the pastry into the tart mould to form a good shape.



Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade, until pale golden. Allow to cool.
These make wonderful little cases for savoury or sweet fillings-the variations are endless.

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How To Make The Vanilla-Rose Custard

Aesthetically, I prefer the custard for these little tarts to be white rather than yellow. If you wish to use custard powder, you can- but custard powder is literally cornflour and sugar with yellow colouring....so why not try my white version for a change?



Simply place the milk, sweetener, cornflour, rose essence and vanilla into a measuring jug. Mix well then microwave on high for 1 minute.



Whisk thoroughly. Cook for another minute if required. It should be a very thick, smooth consistency.



Pop into a bowl to cool. Cover with clingfilm, making sure that it touches the surface of the custard. This will ensure that no skin forms as it cools.

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Assembling The Apple Rose Tarts


When you are ready to serve the little tarts, place the filo cases onto your serving plate.



Using a measuring spoon, measure one tablespoon of cooled custard into the centre of the tart. Flatten the custard gently with the back of a teaspoon.



Pop a baked apple rose on the top to finish.



 Make up a variety of tarts using the red and the white apple roses.



Dust with a tiny sprinkling of icing sugar.
(Click HERE for post on Twist & Sprinkle).
Garnish using kaffir lime or basil leaves to add some colour and enhance the rose 'theme'.

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TIP:



Make extra apple roses to use as garnishes on strudels etc. Bake basil leaves at the same time to use alongside.



Use the red, crisp, peel roses to nestle on the top of an Apple Filo Pie.
(Click HERE for recipe)

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You could even serve unsweetened versions of these roses with roasted meats.

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Edible Roses!

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PRINT RECIPE HERE
Sunday, 16 December 2012 - , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Crumpet Breadcrumbs


Because my background is in Graphic Design, I'm used to working within parameters. When given a design brief, it's very common to have a limited use of colour on a project due to costs, or have to fit a whopping great barcode onto something while trying to retain the integrity of your original design.

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 So...when faced with the list of NoCount/Filling and Healthy Foods on the Weight Watchers plan, I embrace the challenge of exploiting those ingredients- by making them do what I want them to do for me!
When I noticed that crumpets were on this list, instead of thinking of them purely as "crumpets for toasting", I saw that there was a great deal of potential in them as a versatile and interesting ingredient. I realised that I could turn them into savoury breadcrumbs for coating other ingredients, and even for sweet or savoury crumble toppings!



If you have ever used Panko breadcrumbs- a very expensive Japanese version, you will see the resemblance, as crumpets also make beautiful, light, airy, uneven crumbs with a deliciously crunchy texture.
My crumpet version are also very reasonably priced.

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This recipe gives you the instructions for making the basic breadcrumbs. I have a few tasty ideas which will follow over the next few weeks, which use these amazing little gems!

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 YOU WILL NEED

 Depending on the amount you want, the ratio I use is:

4 Crumpets
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (optional)
This makes approx. 110g of breadcrumbs.

On the NoCount/Filling & Healthy Day these are 'free' foods. For Smartpoint/Propoint tracking, it will depend on the brand of crumpets you use,so you will have to calculate according to your brand.
The oil is 2sp/1pp per teaspoon.



Place the untoasted crumpets into a food processor.



'Pulse' blend until they are the consistency you want. I like them quite uneven.



If you want them very dry and brittle, pop them onto baking parchment on a baking tray at this stage. Otherwise, add a teaspoon or 1pp of sprayed olive oil. This will make the breadcrumbs extra golden and crunchy.



Spread evenly in a single layer onto baking parchment. Place on a metal baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 15-20 minutes until lightly toasted and dried out.



Once baked, they will turn this lovely, light golden colour.


Use immediately, or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They will store for 3-4 days like this. Don't worry if they lose their crunchiness slightly, as they will regain it once rebaked.

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So far, I've used these in 2 savoury dishes;



Chicken Goujons where the crumbs are seasoned with black pepper and herbs...



...Baked Fishcakes with a crumble topping seasoned with herbs and lemon zest....



...and for fruit crumbles, sweetened and flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg spices.


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Crumbs Away!
Saturday, 15 December 2012 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Red Onion Soup


This is a delicious soup, rich in flavour and colour. It's a great one to make over the Christmas period, especially if you happen to have some left-over cooked red cabbage. (Click HERE for recipe). The addition of the sweet and savoury cabbage brings all the flavours together, producing a powerful and filling dish, perfect for a light lunch or supper.

It's 0pp per bowl, but you would need to charge 1pp if you have more than one serving.

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YOU WILL NEED : (For 6-8 servings)

8 Red Onions
2 cloves garlic
2 Sachets Butter Buds
(Click HERE for link)
2 Low Salt Beef /Vegetable Stock Cubes
3 Litres Water
2 Tablespoons Low Salt Soy Sauce
1 small bowlful Sweet & Savoury Red Cabbage
(Link to recipe above)
White and Black Pepper
Frylight Sunflower Oil

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Slice the onions and fry with the chopped garlic in a little Frylight Sunflower oil until they start to soften. Add some boiled water to help them 'sweat' a little.



Dissolve the Butter Buds in a little boiled water, Stir to dissolve. Add to the onions. This ingredient is optional but will really enhance the richness and flavour of this soup.



Add all the remaining ingredients, including the bowl of Sweet & Savoury Red Cabbage.
Test the flavours. If it's too sweet for you, try adding a little Balsamic Vinegar or a drop more soy sauce to balance the flavours.
Allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.

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This kind of soup always tastes better the day after you make it. It's a great standby to have in the house when you have extra visitors or want a 0pp meal if you feel you have over-indulged and need to get back on track.

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PRINT RECIPE HERE
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 - , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Sausage Filo 'Ravioli' Nibbles


Here's the next of my Christmas nibble ideas. It uses filo pastry again, but, lets face it, one packet is going to go a really long way as all my suggestions use such a small amount!
These remind me of a cross between crispy wonton and ravioli made of pastry.
They have a delicate, thin outer casing which houses a delicious, savoury Chinese-style filling. I have used sausage meat, but this would work equally well with a prawn, chicken or vegetarian centre.
You could even make a sweet filling with fruit or mincemeat.
You can eat 3 of these for 1pp/approx.45kcal
Up to 6 for 2pp/approx.95kcal
Up to 8 for 3pp/approx.125kcal

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YOU WILL NEED: (Makes 16)


1 45g sheet filo pastry
(N.B. All my calculations were made using this brand. Please check if yours differs).

2 WeightWatchers sausages
2 Chopped spring onions
Fresh chopped herbs
Seasoning
1 teaspoon low-salt soy sauce
Frylight Sunflower oil

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Take the sausages out of their skins and mix in a bowl with the soy sauce, spring onion and chopped herbs. Add seasoning of your choice - a little chilli or some chinese seasoning works very well.


Working quickly, cut the sheet of filo pastry into 2 equal pieces.
Spray one sheet with Frylight oil.


Using a measuring spoon, dot teaspoonfuls of the sausage mixture evenly across the pastry.


Place the second sheet of filo pastry accurately on top of the base sheet.


Press down gently to remove any excess air. The pastry layers should stick to each other, sandwiching the filling inside.


Using a ravioli cutter or scissors, cut into even little 'pillows'.
The ravioli cutter makes a beautiful deckled edge detail.


Pop onto some baking parchment on a baking tray. Mist lightly with Frylight oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade until golden brown.


These are really delicate, so just need a simple herb garnish before arranging carefully onto a serving plate.


Crispy, whispy and full of flavour.

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