Wednesday, 30 October 2013 - , , , 3 comments

RECIPE : Red Thai Curry with Tofu

I ate a beautiful vegetarian red Thai curry a couple of weeks ago in a restaurant and it inspired me to invent this dish. I had never made a Thai curry before and didn't realise how simple it would be! 

The two key ingredients are red Thai curry paste and coconut milk. You could get all cheffy and make your own paste if you want to, but I didn't have the time or the inclination and I have to say the result was completely delicious!

Coconut milk is high in propoints, but by only using half of this tin and adding other low fat ingredients, I have managed to keep the overall propoints pretty low.
Tofu is not for everyone. I think many people who are not vegetarian have a bad preconception of it. Prepared in the right way, this nutritious but bland food can come to life. I have made it crispy and delicious before adding it to my beautiful spicy, creamy curry. Give it a whirl, but if you still decide it's not for you, simply substitute the tofu and cornflour with 2pp/80kcal of prawns or chicken.


At 5pp/approx.300kcal per portion I think this is amazing.
You can decide whether to serve with rice or noodles and add the extra propoints accordingly.


YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 4)

3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
200ml coconut milk
(half the can shown above)
100ml soya/skimmed milk 
juice of 1 lime
1/2 a medium aubergine
2 carrots
1 medium onion
1/4 of a butternut squash
75g whole babycorn
4 medium tomatoes
100g sugar snap peas or mange-tout
A few florets of broccoli
A few fresh basil leaves

200g Tofu
(I use the Cauldron brand which is quite firm)

For the tofu coating;

2 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
(this is a black pepper/garlic powder blend)
1/2 teaspoon chopped, dried garlic


Measure the Thai paste and coconut milk accurately. Pop into a large pan. (A wok is ideal). Mix together well and add the lime juice and the soya or skimmed milk. This becomes the base for your curry and all the ingredients are braised in this sauce-no pre-frying involved.

Heat the mixture gently then add the vegetables that are going to take the longest to cook; the butternut squash and the aubergine cut into large cubes,the onion, sliced carrots and whole baby corn. Cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the tofu. I leave the vegetables quite chunky so that you have interesting textures when you eat the curry.

Next, prepare the tofu. Drain very well from the liquid it is preserved in. Cut into 8 even pieces- 2 per portion and blot on kitchen paper to remove as much moisture as possible. You can cut into smaller cubes if you prefer.

Season the cornflour with the garlic pepper and chopped dried garlic. Coat the tofu with the seasoned cornflour.
(The easiest way to do this is to pop it into a plastic bag and shake gently).

Fry on each side in frylight oil until the outside is golden and crisp.
This will take around 20 minutes. Retain in the pan or pop in the oven to keep warm.
Keep separate from the curry right up until serving so that it stays crunchy.

Once the main vegetables and tofu are almost cooked, add the sugar-snap peas or mange-tout, broccoli and quartered tomatoes to the curry.
Add a few torn basil leaves.
Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes so that these last vegetables are cooked but remain vibrant in colour.

When ready to serve, divide the vegetables between 4 serving dishes. Arrange the crunchy tofu on top, then gently spoon the sauce equally between the 4 portions, spooning some over the tofu to give it flavour just before serving. Garnish with a little basil.

Add cooked rice or noodles as an accompaniment.
I served mine with 60g rice for an additional 6pp/215kcal



You could replace the tofu and cornflour with 400g raw prawns or 2 medium diced chicken breasts (165g each).
Just braise the chicken or prawns in with the vegetables for 10-15 minutes until cooked. You won't need the cornflour.
When serving, make sure that you allocate the prawns/chicken equally between the 4 portions for accurate propoint/calorie allocation.


If you find this too spicy, use less curry paste or add 2 tablespoons total 0% yoghurt. This won't affect the propoint calculations.


If you can get hold of reduced fat coconut milk, you could use 300ml for the same propoints, or alternatively use 200ml as in this recipe resulting in a reduction of propoints by 1pp/approx.40kcal per portion


Creamy, coconutty curry.



Saturday, 26 October 2013 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Carrot, Coriander & Butternut Squash Soup

This delicious seasonal soup is both rich in colour and flavour. The addition of butternut squash to a traditional carrot and coriander soup adds a thick, silken texture - perfect for the colder Autumn days that are drawing in.

It is so simple to make!


This is 1pp for the WHOLE amount
0pp/approx.60kcal per bowl.

(If you eat more than half of the batch in one day, you will need to charge 1pp)


You Will Need : (Serves 4-6)

6 medium-large carrots
1/2 a small butternut squash
1 small bunch coriander
1 medium-large onion
1 low salt vegetable stock cube 
1300ml or 2 1/4 pints water
1 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs
garlic pepper
(or regular black pepper)
100ml skimmed milk/light soya milk


Chop the onion coarsely. Pop in a saucepan or soup maker with the sliced carrots, roughly diced butternut squash and most of the coriander. (Save a little for garnish).
Add the water, stock cube and seasonings.
Bring to the boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
(If using a soup maker, use the smooth setting).
Puree until silky smooth using a hand blender.


Add the milk and taste.
Season to your personal preference.
You may want to add a dash of low salt soy sauce or a few more herbs.

Ladle into serving bowls, adding a few coriander leaves to garnish.



Have a mug of soup at your most snacky time of day-11 o'clock and 5 o'clock are my worst times. I find a mug of this warming soup just keeps my hunger at bay between meal times.

A mug of soup is also great with a light salad or sandwich at lunchtime to make your meal more filling and warming in the Winter.


Monday, 21 October 2013 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

HALLOWEEN!! : Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Here's my version of a famous High Street coffee shop chains' seasonal drink.
My Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Latte has all the hallmark flavours of a delicious pumpkin pie in a hot, sweet, milky coffee, but at a fraction of the propoints/calories and cost!
It is a really delicious, comforting drink-perfect for a dark Winter morning or snuggly afternoon in.
It's also a great way to use up some of the excess flesh left over from all the Halloween pumpkin carving!


The High Street version is
around 10pp/390kcal.
My version is 1pp/approx.60kcal
(2pp/approx 120kcal
if you double the suggested serving size).


YOU WILL NEED : (Per serving)

30g pumpkin flesh
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon artificial granular sweetener
100ml skimmed or soya milk
1 single or double shot espresso
(according to your personal taste)
a shot-size cup of instant coffee mixed with hot water to your desired strength


Cut the pumpkin flesh into small cubes.
Add a teaspoon of water and cover.
Cook on high in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until soft enough to mash. Add the cinnamon and sweetener to your personal taste.

Pop the pumpkin mixture into a tall container. Heat the milk until almost boiling, then add to the mixture. Blend until really smooth and frothy.

The milky mixture will turn a beautiful apricot-tinged colour.

Pour into your serving glass and gently add the shot of hot coffee.

If you blended for long enough, this lovely frothy top will appear naturally.
Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and garnish simply with some tiny strips of pumpkin shell...

...or a slice cut from the top of the pumpkin.

If you really have the carving bug like me, make a dinky little coffee cup and saucer as a funky decoration!
(The best pumpkins for these are the tiny munchkin variety).


 Halloween for grown-ups!



You could make this for kids or non-coffee-lovers without the coffee, just as a delicious frothy, milky drink.


Saturday, 19 October 2013 - , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Parma Ham & Mozzarella stuffed Hasselback Aubergine

A while ago, I invented a recipe for Hasselback Aubergines.
(Click HERE for link)
I always wanted to go back and revisit this idea as I knew the scope for fillings was vast and I think they look amazing.

So, when I found these white aubergines in Morissons last week (the origin of the name 'eggplant'), I felt really inspired to come up with something new. This recipe works equally well with regular purple aubergines-there is literally no difference in price, flavour or texture-purely the appearance.


My Parma Ham and Mozzarella Hasselbacks make the most succulent and delicious quick meal. Salty ham, creamy mozzarella, pungent sage and roasted aubergine combine to make a complete and sumptuous dish-perfect in its simplicity. These flavours were just meant to be together.

This recipe works out to 5pp/approx.270kcal per portion.


YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 2)

1 medium aubergine (white or purple)
1 low fat mozzarella ball 
4 slices Parma ham
A few fresh sage leaves
(or basil if you prefer)
black pepper
Frylight oil


Wash the aubergine and cut off the fibrous stalk. Cut in half horizontally.

Cut finely through the aubergine but not all the way through so that it still holds together. Cut as deeply as you can without it falling apart. By slicing thinly, the aubergine will cook quickly.

Drain the mozzarella and cut in half. Cut each half into 8 pieces.

Allowing 2 slices of Parma ham per person, cut each slice into 4.

Wrap each piece of mozzarella in a piece of ham. Don't worry about being too neat- this is a rustic dish.

Pack the ham-wrapped cheese into the slices you made in the aubergine. Space as evenly as you can across the slices. Stuff a sage or basil leaf in with the filling. Sage is a very pungent herb and gives a really distinctive Italian, perfumed flavour. Basil is more gentle and slightly sweeter in flavour. Both herbs work really well with this recipe.
Mist with Frylight oil and season with black pepper.
Roast on a baking tray in a hot oven 220C/425F/Gas7 for 20-25 minutes until the aubergine is soft and the ham and sage crispy on the edges.
Don't worry if the cheese oozes out a little-it will still taste delicious!

Serve with a fresh green salad. These simple ingredients will do all the work for you-no need to add anything.


No hassle hasselbacks.



I also made a very simple vegetarian version of this which I will be sharing soon! In the meantime, have fun experimenting and coming up with your own ideas for fillings.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013 - , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Morrisons Breakfast Biscuits

I'm really enjoying these Breakfast Biscuits from the Morrisons NU ME range at the moment. NU ME is a low fat range of foods especially designed for people like us who want reduced fat products. Morrissons have even put the propoint values on their packaging although their products are not endorsed or sponsored by WeightWatchers.

The biscuits come in two flavours; Cereal & Milk (my personal favourite), and Fruit & Fibre. The Milk variety  have a really 'eggy', oaty flavour with a sprinkle of crumbly oats on top. The fruity ones are really tasty too, with a yummy toasted figgy flavour.

If you are used to eating other brands of breakfast biscuits, these individual packs of 2 may appear quite small to you but at only 3pp/113kcal, I think they are great value and really delicious. Great to pop in your handbag for an emergency or have with a cup of tea at that 'danger zone' time of day.

Monday, 14 October 2013 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Roasted Figs with Pink Vanilla Cream

Here's an example of how to transform a special fruit into a spectacular dessert! There's an abundance of fresh figs in the supermarkets at the moment. I paid 50p each for these, so they're not cheap, but make an amazingly luxurious little pudding if you treat them with respect.
Sometimes, the flavour can be slightly disappointing with fresh figs, unless you're devouring them under Mediterranean with a little help from my trusty accompaniments, I think you'll agree this is a dessert to remember.
The pink colour (from beetroot) in the vanilla cream is optional, but I think it makes the most amazing visual impact with the roasted figs.


This whole recipe is 3pp/approx.420kcal. Each portion of 2 figs with the Vanilla Cream is 1pp/approx.150kcal but you can have two portions for 1pp!


You Will Need : (Serves 3)

6 fresh figs 
1 1/2 teaspoons very low fat spread
1 teaspoon artificial granular sweetener
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 For the Pink Vanilla Cream

35g (a mini pot) lightest Philadelphia
3 tablespoons Total 0% Yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon artificial granular sweetener
1 slice cooked beetroot (optional)


Start by washing and drying the fresh figs gently.

Carefully cut off the woody stalk from each fig.

Cut a cross shape in each fig-be careful not to cut all the way through so that the fruit holds together.

Repeat with all 6 figs and place in an oven-proof dish.

Using a measuring spoon, accurately measure 1/4 teaspoon very low fat spread per fig.

Gently prise each fig apart and pop the low fat spread inside.

At this stage, they remind me of little baby birds in a nest!

Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sweetener.
Bake in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas6 for 15-20 minutes until the edges look crisp and caramelised.

While the figs are roasting, make the vanilla cream. Pop the cream cheese into a bowl and measure out the yoghurt.

Mix together and add the vanilla extract and sweeten to your personal taste.

If you want to colour the cream pink, simply open a pack of cooked beetroot. Sometimes, there is a little juice in the packaging. A few drops are all you need.

Alternatively, chop a slice of cooked beetroot into small pieces and press with the back of a spoon through a sieve to extract a little juice.

The colour is a vibrant magenta. There will be no flavour produced from this tiny amount of beetroot, just the colour.

Stir the colour into the vanilla cream. It's amazing that a natural colouring can be this bright! You can blend well or leave a swirly effect.

The roasted figs will be crisp on the outside and soft inside. Natural juices will have formed in the dish.

Pop the warm figs on to serving plates, sharing out the syrupy cinnamon juices. Divide the pink vanilla cream equally between the 3 portions, dolloping generously on top of the figs.


Fabulously Figgy!



SMASH & GRAB : Stir-fry Curry

Sometimes, all we need for a little inspiration is one small trigger.
I went to my WeightWatchers meeting today, (as I do every week), and the theme of the free 'Your Week' magazine was Indian spices. The recipes looked really gorgeous...I'm definitely going to be trying the spiced lamb naans on p14.

By the time I got home, my mouth was watering! The weather had turned quite chilly today so, although I had planned to make myself a prawn salad for my lunch, I really fancied something more filling and warming...and that's when the Eureka moment struck! I wondered if I could make an Indian stir-fry using curry spices instead of Chinese seasonings? Something very quick, no performance that I could be eating within 10 minutes of walking in the door. The answer is a very big's possible!


YOU WILL NEED : (For 1 generous portion at 5pp/approx.350kcal or 2 small portions at 3pp/approx.175kcal each)

1 teaspoon mild or medium curry powder
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 an aubergine
100g cauliflower
5 white mushrooms
1 teaspoon Nigella seeds (optional)
large handful of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon tomato puree
black pepper
1 cup water
200g cooked prawns
(I used garlic and herb marinated ones but plain will do)


To Finish

1 tablespoon zero pp apple chutney
(Click HERE for recipe)
If you use shop-bought chutney you will have to calculate and add propoints.

1 tablespoon 0% fat Total yoghurt


Chop all the vegetables into small but chunky pieces and pop into a frying pan or wok with some Frylight oil.
Add the curry powder and fry on a medium/high heat for a few minutes until softened.

Add the Nigella seeds, tomato puree, seasoning, coriander and water. Cook for another few minutes until the vegetables are soft but with some bite. Add the prawns and heat through thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.

Pop into your serving bowl and add a few more fresh herbs for vibrant colour. I used basil but you could use more coriander.

Finally, add a tablespoon of chutney and a tablespoon of 0%fat Total yoghurt to counteract the spiciness.
My Apple Harvest Chutney works beautifully as it is both sweet and tangy and has zero propoints!
(Click HERE for recipe)

I enjoyed mine without any accompaniment as a quick lunchtime snack, but you could serve this with rice or my zero pp Fakeaway Pilau Rice made from grated cauliflower or celeriac.
(Click HERE for recipe and scroll down to the end for the Pilau rice idea).


Fastest curry ever!