Sunday, 29 December 2013 - 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : WeightWatchers Creme Fraiche


This WeightWatchers low fat creme fraiche is such a versatile little ingredient and a firm favourite in the Slice-of-Slim kitchen!

***

It's made from British milk in the West Country and you wouldn't have a clue it was low in fat as it tastes really rich and has a lovely smooth, silky texture.

It is only 1pp/23kcal for a 30g serving.

It's delicious dolloped as it is onto fruit crumble or even a spicy curry as a cooling agent. The flavour is creamy but with a slightly tangy hint.
The beauty of this is that it's neutral, so you can combine it with sweet or savoury flavours depending on the dish you are making.

I've used it in three different dishes over the Festive season this year.

My first dish was;




Pink Peppercorn & Dill Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon.

I blended the creme fraiche with cooked beetroot to make the most incredibly vibrant and delicious topping for this dish.

(Click HERE for the link to this recipe)

*

My second recipe was;



Chocolate Rum & Raisin Frozen Puddings.

I incorporated the creme fraiche into my frozen banana 'ice-cream' recipe to make it rich and creamy, adding cocoa and rum-soaked fruits. Then, I combined some with melted white chocolate for a low fat but extremely decadent-tasting topping!


(Click HERE for link to this recipe)

*

My final recipe was;



Boxing Day Pie.

Here, I heaped left-over turkey, cranberry sauce and roasted vegetables into individual filo pastry pies before making a delicious thick, creamy mushroom sauce for the top layer using creme fraiche to add a luxurious finish to this recipe.

(Click HERE for link to this recipe)

***

So, you can see what a useful little pot of deliciousness this is and well worth keeping in the fridge to liven up every day dishes!

***

*Disclaimer

I was given a nominal contribution towards the basic ingredients for these dishes as I am taking part in a
blogger 'creme fraiche' challenge.

However, I would like to add that this is a product I know and love and use on a regular basis in my recipe development.
Friday, 27 December 2013 - , 1 comments

Hot Off The Press NEWS : SIMPLE START


By now you have probably realised that something exciting is going on with WeightWatchers for 2014!

This time of year, those of us established members start to worry that the systems we know and love are going to change, and wonder if we are going to have to learn a whole new WeightWatchers language.

All I can say is…
DON'T WORRY! BE HAPPY!

Simple Start is exactly what it says it is.
It's a really simple and straightforward introduction to healthy eating.

***

From the end of December...
If you are a brand new member to WeightWatchers, this is how you will be introduced to the plan in your first couple of weeks.

If you are a current member, it merely gives you more choices. So if you fancy a fresh start in the new year having over-indulged at Christmas, Simple Start might be exactly what you need.
However, if you are happy and comfortable with the system you currently use-counting Propoints or Filling & Healthy, you can just stick to those.

***

Simple Start uses Filling & Healthy foods but has been simplified even further. All will become clear when your leader explains in meetings, but here's a little heads up
for you...

You will be given a very concise list of foods and flavourings that you can eat FREELY-
that means... 


It's a very easy way to get going on a healthy eating plan. You will learn quickly about wholegrain foods, plus lean proteins such as meat and fish, alongside the heaps of fruit and vegetables - all of which you can eat freely and will keep you feeling full up throughout the day.

WeightWatchers have also built some treats into the Simple Start plan, so you can have a couple of those per day too.
(For current members this means you don't use your 49 weeklies as it's all built in).

They even supply you with a shopping list for your pocket or handbag so you don't get bamboozled when you hit the supermarket.
(Great idea!)

***

Simple Start is a focused approach to get you going. There will also be an app specifically for this plan which encourages you to take a 2 week challenge, supporting you all the way.
Then, new members will be gradually introduced to the next phase of Propointing and Filling & Healthy, giving greater variety and flexibility with food choices.


***

I will be starting a new category on
Slice-of-Slim called Simple Start
in order to support new members and current members who wish to give it a go.
The recipes won't have too many weights and measures unless really necessary, to give you total freedom in the kitchen.

Remember you can always catch up on my posts via Facebook (Click HERE for link)
and Twitter (Click HERE for link).

I've been trying Simple Start myself. It's really highlighted the foods that were missing from my diet (mostly wholegrains and pulses), made me go back to basics and rebalance the ratio of healthy foods and treats I eat on a daily basis. I have found that I have felt really full up on these foods with much less desire to snack between meals-even my beloved chocolate has taken a back seat!
(Don't fret though-it's on the treat list!)

I've been doing some exciting recipe development too. So if your fear is boredom, fear no longer-I've been working my Slice-of-Slim magic and used the foods from the list to invent some fabulous savoury and sweet ideas, including an amazing pizza which will be my first tailor-made Simple Start recipe to go on the blog in the near future!

To get you started, any of my current Filling & Healthy recipes that fit into the Simple Start category will be there already, so go and have a browse.

***


And finally…if that's not too much excitement for you, I can now tell you that Shelina Permalloo, past winner of Masterchef,(my personal favourite that year), is on board with WeightWatchers for next year!

I was lucky enough to meet her a couple of weeks ago at a Simple Start blogger event. 
(More about that in another post
-she is lovely!)

Shelina is following the WeightWatchers plan and having great success with it. She is an inspirational cook who puts together vibrant dishes using fabulous flavours and will be sharing her wonderful Simple Start recipes with you via WeightWatchers.

***

Simple Start.
Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Thursday, 26 December 2013 - , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Boxing Day Pie


I call this dish 'Boxing Day Pie' but it's really a posh way of using up the leftovers from Christmas dinner!

I first made this a few years ago when I had family popping over for lunch between Christmas and New Year. I had lots of turkey, cranberry sauce and roasted vegetables left over, and I wondered what would happen if I just bunged it all together in a filo pastry pie…?
The result was a resounding success and I've been making it ever since!

***

The turkey and vegetables are built up in layers between sheets of filo pastry, then topped with a rich, creamy mushroom sauce using low fat creme fraiche to bring everything together.
I've made individual pies as I'm a bit of a stickler for accurate portion allocation, however this works beautifully if you want to make one large pie in a regular flan dish.

This recipe serves 4 at 7pp/approx.400kcal per portion.

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 4)



4 sheets filo pastry
(I used this brand which works out to 3pp/120kcal per sheet. Please check if using a different brand)

300g cooked turkey
(Chicken or Quorn roast chicken style slices work well too)

4 teaspoons cranberry sauce
(I make my own 0pp one, click HERE for recipe)

Left over roasted vegetables
(Any combination of onions, butternut squash, peppers, tomatoes etc)


200g pot of WeightWatchers creme fraiche
300g mushrooms
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons cornflour

Fresh basil

***



Start by making the creamy mushroom sauce so that it can cool down completely before being added to the pie.
Slice the mushrooms and fry in a little low fat cooking spray until soft. Add the Worcestershire sauce and black pepper.



Add the creme fraiche and cornflour to the cooked mushrooms. Stir thoroughly and heat through until the sauce thickens. Transfer to a cold bowl to cool quickly.



When you are ready to assemble your pie, have all your cold ingredients handy.



If making individual pies, cut each sheet of filo pastry into 4. Otherwise, use 1 sheet per layer of pie in a regular flan dish.



Mist the flan dish with low fat cooking spray, then add the first piece of filo pastry. Add sliced turkey or chicken.
Dot with cranberry sauce.



Place the second piece of filo pastry on top of the meat, then add some roasted vegetables. Reserve 4 strips of roasted red pepper for garnishing.
 Leave the pastry hanging out at the sides at this stage.



Add a third piece of filo pastry, then 1/4 of the creamy mushroom mixture to each pie.



Pop the final piece of pastry on the top, then gather up all the pastry hanging out over the edges into a random frilly shape. Don't squash it flat, allow it to stick up.
Mist with low fat cooking spray.



Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180C/350F/Gas4 until the pastry is crisp and golden and the pie contents are piping hot.
Garnish by making a little red pepper rose on the top with a sprig of fresh basil.
Serve with a crisp green salad.

***

Who said left overs were boring?

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE
Monday, 23 December 2013 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Chocolate Meringues


These chocolate meringues are great for any time of year but make fantastic little Christmas presents too!
I've shaped mine into Christmas puddings and cute little dogs and cats but if you're not feeling quite so adventurous they are lovely just as round blobs.

***

This recipe makes 10 generous chocolate meringues with chocolate chips at 2pp/approx.80kcal each.
If you top them with white chocolate like my Christmas puddings, they work out to 3pp/approx.120kcal each.

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Makes 10 meringues)

3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa
25g chocolate chips

For the topping;

30g white chocolate

***



Whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Add the sugar gradually, whisking thoroughly each time to dissolve the sugar.
Add the cocoa and whisk to mix in.



If making round meringues or Christmas puddings, shape 10 circles onto greaseproof paper.
If making dogs or cats, simply shape using a teaspoon to your desired design.



Add a few chocolate chips.
Use mini pink chocolate beans for dog/cat noses.



Bake for 1 hour at 150C/300F/Gas2 for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to its coolest setting for another 1-2 hours to dry out.



The meringues will crack a little on the surface but this just adds to their rustic charm!



Allow to cool, then decorate with melted chocolate.



Add finishing touches, such as white chocolate ears and paws. Tie with pretty string for added detail.



If these are gifts, wrap each one individually in a cellophane bag and tie with string and a decorative tag.

***

Homemade gifts are always much appreciated!

***

TIP

You can use various flavours of drinking chocolate instead of cocoa. I used chilli chocolate & lime flavour in mine! 

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE
Saturday, 21 December 2013 - , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Chocolate Rum & Raisin Frozen Puddings


This is a refreshingly different and fun dish for the Festive season.
These gorgeous individual Christmas puddings are, infact, my frozen banana 'ice-cream' flavoured with cocoa and rum-soaked dried fruits. I've added reduced fat creme fraiche to the mixture to make it taste really creamy and luxurious. Then I've made an amazing topping using melted white chocolate mixed with a little more creme fraiche for a low fat but decadent-tasting treat.
A sprig of real holly and some beautiful berries and you have a dessert fit for a king!

***

It works out to 7pp/approx.480kcal per portion.

N.B. This recipe requires a few hours prep time for freezing and re-freezing!

YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 4)

8 frozen bananas
(Try to freeze the day before you make the recipe if possible-in or out of their skins)

Four 25ml measures of rum
50g raisins
50g dried cranberries


120g WeightWatchers creme fraiche
8 teaspoons cocoa powder

For the topping;

40g white chocolate
40g WeightWatchers creme fraiche

To finish;

A few sprigs of holly
Fresh raspberries and blueberries

***


Start by measuring the rum into 4 shot glasses or small containers. Add the dried fruit (25g mixed raisins and cranberries into each shot).
Allow to soak for as long as possible-anything from 20 minutes to overnight! By measuring individually, you can be sure of accurate portion/propointing control.



Take the frozen banana out of the freezer and leave for 10 minutes. I always freeze them in their skins-after 10 minutes it's very easy to remove with a sharp knife.


Chop the banana into slices and pop into a food processor, or, if you're lucky enough to own one, a Yonanas machine. (These are designed specifically to process frozen fruits).
Blitz until really smooth and creamy-this may take some time but eventually the banana takes on a smooth 'ice-cream' consistency.
Add the cocoa and the creme fraiche and mix really well.


Divide the 'ice-cream' into 4 equal portions. Tip a shot of rum-soaked fruits into each one and stir well.


Line 4 individual dishes with cling film.
(You could use pudding moulds, tea cups or small bowls-anything that is going to give you a good pudding shape).


Pack the mixture in tightly and smooth to form a flat surface.
(This will become your base).
Pop back into the freezer to solidify. This will take 3-4 hours. As long as it's firm enough to hold its shape once turned out, that's fine-you don't really want it to freeze rock solid.


When you are ready to serve your puddings, turn them out gently onto your serving plates. Peel off the cling film.


Melt the white chocolate and stir the creme fraiche into it. Mix well. This makes a sweet but slightly tangy topping-it tastes amazing!


Working quickly, divide the mixture equally between each serving. Dollop generously on the top then 'tease' gently with a teaspoon into drizzle shapes so it looks like an authentic christmas pudding. The coldness of the 'ice-cream' will semi-set the topping quickly, so it won't run down any further.


Finally, top with a sprig of fresh holly and scatter the plate with fresh raspberries and blueberries.

***

Alternative Christmas pudding.

***

TIP

You could use Malibu as an alternative to plain rum to give a coconut flavour to this recipe.

***

Thursday, 19 December 2013 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon & Beetroot Creme Fraiche


Here is a gorgeous idea for the Festive season-it makes a wonderful starter or light lunch. The textures, flavours and colours are an absolute joy to behold!
I've laced my potato and onion latkes with crushed pink peppercorns and dill to bring a perfumed, peppery kick to this recipe. Smoked salmon adds another dimension with its soft and distinctive flavours. To top it all off, the beetroot creme fraiche brings an unexpected shot of colour and its sweetness balances the flavours perfectly.

***

This recipe serves 4. It works out to 4pp/approx.200kcal per portion.

YOU WILL NEED: (serves 4)

200g potato (peeled)
2 small/medium white onions
2 eggs
pinch of white pepper


2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
(I use these pickled ones as they are softer)

fresh dill

140g smoked salmon

*

For the topping:


120g WeightWatchers creme fraiche
100g cooked beetroot
lemon zest
***


Grate the potato and onion coarsely. Pop into a sieve to drain any excess liquid.
Add the beaten eggs and white pepper.


Using the back of a teaspoon, gently crush the pink peppercorns. This releases the flavours but also breaks them up into smaller pieces as they are quite pungent. Add them to the potato mixture with a few sprigs of fresh dill.


Spray some baking parchment with low fat cooking spray. Make 8 flat circles of the potato latke mixture.
(Each one should be about the size of the creme fraiche lid).


Bake at 200C/400F/Gas6 for around 35-40 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside and thoroughly cooked on the inside.


While the latkes are cooking, make the creamy topping. Chop the beetroot roughly. Add the creme fraiche. Using a hand blender or food processor, blitz until really smooth and creamy.


It's hard to believe something this vibrant is made from natural ingredients!


When you are ready to serve your dish, pop 2 latkes on each serving plate. Layer up the smoked salmon to give it some height.


Finally, add a generous serving of beetroot creme fraiche. Finish with another sprig of dill and a light sprinkling of lemon zest.
You will have happy people at your table.

***

TIPS

You can make the potato latkes in advance and freeze them. Simply defrost and reheat when ready to serve.

*

You could make tiny versions of this dish.

It would make around 32 to serve as wonderful canap├ęs.
You could have two for 1pp.

***