RECIPE : Thai Fishcakes with Mango Salsa


I still attend my WeightWatchers meeting every week despite being at goal since 2010. I find it just keeps me where I need to be and there is always something new to learn.
As with many of the groups, my leader has a vibrant and active Facebook page where members from all her meetings can 'meet' online and share recipes and ideas. 
So, when I was invited to go along to one of my leader's meetings and meet some of the members I had only chatted to online, I jumped at the chance.

Since I started Slice-of-Slim, one of my favourite activities has been 'troubleshooting'. I love a challenge, so if someone tells me they miss a certain food, or could I Slice-of-Slimmify a dish to reduce the propoints or make it fit into Simple Start, I jump at the chance!
I have a growing list of requests and this is the first one.
Lovely Wendy Price from Coventry asked me to innovate some Thai fishcakes for her that she could eat on a Simple Start Day. She buys them in the supermarket at the moment and they come in at 7pp each. Well Wendy I think you're going to be very happy!

My recipe makes 14 mini Thai fishcakes at 7pp/approx.500kcal for the lot!

I've propointed this recipe but it's also Simple Start and Filling & Healthy friendly.

So…you can have:

1 for 0pp/36kcal
3 for 1pp/108kcal
5 for 2pp/180kcal
or
7 for 3pp/250kcal

Alternatively, you could make 4 medium (two for 3pp/250kcal) or 2 large fishcakes at 3pp/250kcal each!

***

You Will Need : (Serves 2)

(If following a Simple Start or Filling & Healthy day, you can be less accurate with your measurements and portion sizes).

For the Fishcakes:

140g uncooked prawns
130g cod loin
4 spring onions
small bunch fresh coriander
1/2 a medium hot red chilli
1 clove garlic
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 a lime
black pepper
small bunch fresh chives

To Fry:

1 teaspoon olive oil

(This comes from your daily allowance on Simple Start or Filling & Healthy)

*

For the Salsa:

1 mango
2 spring onions
small bunch fresh coriander
1/2 a medium hot red chilli
juice of 1/2 a lime

***


 Cut the cod into small chunks. Chop the chilli and garlic and spring onion into small pieces. Then pop all the ingredients for the fishcakes except for the chives into a food processor.



Pulse-blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped and the chilli and seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. It will resemble a fine paste.


Snip the chives with scissors and stir into the mixture with a spoon.


Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Using a tablespoon measure, dollop the mixture into the pan and press flat with a spoon. Repeat until you have used all the mixture.


I love all the colours running through this-you can almost see the flavours! My fishcakes are quite mild and aromatic because I used mild red chilli. (They tend to be the larger ones). If you like your food spicier, you could use stronger chillies.


Fry on a medium high heat for 2 minutes each side until golden brown.
If you are making larger fishcakes they will take longer-more like 5 minutes each side. Make sure they are thoroughly cooked in the centre before serving.


While the fishcakes are cooking (amazing smells will waft around your kitchen!), chop all the ingredients for the salsa and squeeze the lime juice over the top.

I use half the mango in the salsa then slice the rest onto the plate.


Arrange the fishcakes and the salsa on your serving plate.
This makes a great light meal or starter. You could serve with some garlic and soy wilted spinach and boiled wholewheat noodles for a more filling meal.

***

TIPS


If you want to serve these as little appetisers, pop onto cocktail sticks!

*



You could drop them, once cooked, into a huge bowl of noodle soup!
(Wholewheat noodles for Simple Start or Filling & Healthy)

***

Tanthailising little beauties!

***

Monday, 27 January 2014 - 2 comments

Food for Thought: Use of Artificial Sweeteners


Towards the end of last year, I was lucky enough to attend a National conference called
Nutrition & Health Live
at London Olympia. This was its 14th year and in that time it has grown in reputation with some amazing and influential speakers taking part. 
As a food blogger specialising in low fat recipes, I had a keen interest in many of the events and cookery demonstrations I went to. The talk I was most intrigued to attend was the one called;

"Uncovering the facts about
Artificial Sweeteners".

There are so many conflicting reports and advice given about the use of artificial sweeteners in our diets. In fact there is much confusion in the media about many food related issues (fat, sugar etc) and this was addressed at the conference-it's no wonder that we consumers feel confused most of the time!

***

Before I continue, please remember that unlike most of the attendees who were there, I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. I am a WeightWatchers gold member, blogger and food writer with a keen interest in cooking. I don't have a scientific mind…so I will share my findings with you in very simple terms. 

***

The speakers were;

Professor Alan Boobis: Toxicology expert
Professor Marion Hetherington: Expert in human biology, appetite & eating

Professor Alan Boobis started the session by explaining to us that in terms of its safety, no substance can be approved unless it has satisfied a regulatory body and has been subjected to rigorous testing. This is supported in all the materials I have read and I have reference to the clinical trials supporting this fact.

Aspartame and even the more 'natural' plant-based sweeteners such as Stevia all break down in the gut into exactly the same natural amino-acids. Stevia is often combined with other artificial sweeteners anyway as it has quite a prominent aftertaste. 

The conclusion from the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) on safety is that there are no concerns at the current ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) which is
40mg per kg of body weight,
that artificial sweeteners can do any harm.

As with all food types, if eaten in moderation, at sensible levels, it is safe.
The upper limit (way too much!) would be the equivalent of; 

20 cans of a diet drink PER DAY!
or
70 sachets of sweetener PER DAY!

***

Professor Hetherington went on to explain that as human beings, we have an innate love of sweetness. Breast milk is sweet. This is the first flavour we encounter so it should come as no surprise that many of us have a sweet tooth!
When a dietician asked if it was a good idea to 'wean' her patient off sweet foods, the professor said no, its better to have a small amount rather than deprive the patient. She explained that low calorie sweeteners can have a positive role in supporting dietary change in those people trying to lose or maintain their weight.

***

Finally, in a paper I read by Carrie Buxton PhD, RD and Freelance dietitian, she explains that
"There have been concerns that low-calorie sweeteners may be associated with cancer, however this has been consistently rejected by expert panel reviews of the evidence. Researchers from the Institute of Pharmacological Research Mario Negri, Italy, evaluated intakes of low-calorie sweeteners in patients with various types of cancers. Data was collected over a 13 year period on over 11,000 cases…results showed that the risk of developing cancer was not associated with consumption of low-calorie sweeteners".
(Bosetti C et al 2009)

***

So, to conclude.
I'm not dictating or recommending that you use artificial sweeteners because I want you to make your own minds up. If you wish to google the facts in more detail, please do so.
I came away from the talk reassured that, in the quantities I use them, I'm happy to continue to use artificial sweeteners in my diet as I have a sweet tooth and they help me to reduce my calorie/propoint intake on sweet foods.
Saturday, 25 January 2014 - , , , , , , , 1 comments

SIMPLE START : Apple Tarts


If you're anything like me, you may find that you often fancy something sweet after a meal or with a cup of tea.
I love the fact that SIMPLE START helps me to balance the ratio of healthy foods versus treats I have on a daily basis, but this doesn't stop me pushing it to its limits!

So…if you've tried my fabulous SIMPLE START pizza using crushed up crumpets for the base, I think you'll love these!
I've used a similar principle but sweetened up my base mixture by adding some vanilla extract and sweetener. Then I've topped the base with thinly sliced apple, cinnamon and a few loose cinnamon flavoured crumpet crumbs for a yummy crunchy texture, resulting in a pretty wonderful little apple tart.

***

As the whole ethos behind SIMPLE START is a straightforward approach without the distraction of weighing, measuring or counting, my SIMPLE START recipes have portion guidelines but very little actual measurements unless really necessary.

YOU WILL NEED 

For the base;

 crumpets
egg
olive oil (from your daily allowance)
 0% fat yoghurt/Quark
 sweetener
cinnamon
vanilla extract

Portion guideline- 2 crumpets, 2 rough tablespoons yoghurt, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sweetener, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract makes 4 individual apple tart bases

*

For the topping;

crumpet
apples
 cinnamon
sweetener
olive oil/Frylight oil

Portion guideline- 1 crumpet, 2 apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon sweetener, 1 teaspoon olive oil is enough for 4 individual apple tarts

***


Start by tearing the crumpets in half. Pop them in a food processor and blitz until you have chunky breadcrumbs. Add some yoghurt/quark, egg, sweetener, vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste. Measure the olive oil as this comes out of your daily allowance.


Blitz again until you have a very thick paste. It's not a dough texture as it's quite a wet mixture, so don't attempt to knead it!



 Line a baking tray with baking parchment (the white one if you can get it as it can stick to regular baking paper). Spray the paper with a little Frylight oil then spread the mixture into the shape you want using a knife until it's about 1 cm thick or slightly thinner.
I made mine rectangular but small circles would work well too.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas6 until crisp and golden.


While the bases are baking, core and slice the apples really thinly.
Make some crumpet breadcrumbs by blitzing in a food processor. Add cinnamon and olive oil taken from your daily allowance.


When the bases are cooked on the top, remove from the oven and flip them over. Arrange the thin slices of apple on the uncooked side. Sprinkle the edges with the cinnamon breadcrumbs. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the apple is baked and the base is lovely and golden with crispy breadcrumbs.


Sprinkle with some granular sweetener and serve warm. These are lovely with a dollop of natural yoghurt or banana 'ice cream'.
(Click HERE for recipe)

***

Simply Amazing!

***

TIPS

Ring the changes by using fresh pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines etc. 

Try baking the bases then top with yoghurt and fresh or tinned fruit
(in natural juice but drained).

***

Thursday, 23 January 2014 - , 3 comments

Food For Thought : A little bit of SIMPLE START Organisation!


As with any new venture-whether it's getting fit, a new job or a healthy eating plan, it's really important to make things as easy for yourself as you can in order to stick to your new routines. 
I'm not an organised person naturally. I have to work really hard at keeping my house tidy and being methodical.
So, when I saw the list of Filling & Healthy foods I could eat on Simple Start, I decided to take some positive action!


By allocating a small part of my kitchen store cupboard to Simple Start and making a label using low-tack tape, I can then pop all the foods I am eating on a regular basis in one space. This is so much easier than constantly having to check the list and search for the right foods.


I do exactly the same with a plastic box in the fridge, keeping all my chilled ingredients in one place. So if I come home hungry and want to make a quick meal, I don't have to start searching in the depths of my fridge for appropriate foods!

***

A smart start to Simple Start!
Monday, 20 January 2014 - , , , , , 1 comments

RECIPE : Steam-Fried Oriental Salmon and Broccoli


Sometimes, simplicity is everything.
If you are time-short but want an easy, tasty meal, this one is for you.
Steam-frying is a great, healthy technique for getting pungent flavours into your dish by frying the ingredients quickly before steaming to heat everything through.

***

This dish works out to 6pp/approx.230kcal (based on a 115g cooked salmon fillet)
It's perfect for a Filling & Healthy
or Simple Start day too!

***

You Will Need : (Serves 2)

1 clove garlic
1 pack of broccoli
1 bunch spring onions
1 carrot
2 tablespoons low salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
2 pre-cooked salmon fillets
(100-115g each)
Chives for garnishing

***


In a large frying pan or wok, chop the garlic and spring onions and fry with the broccoli in olive oil from your daily allowance (F&H or SS) or Frylight oil. Add the soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice. Fry for around 5 minutes to infuse all the flavours.

Cut/julienne the carrot into thin strips and place with the cooked salmon (whole) on top of the vegetables. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, cover the pan and allow to steam for 10 minutes until the salmon is hot and the vegetables are cooked but with some 'bite'. 


Arrange on your serving plate allowing one salmon fillet per portion.
Scatter with freshly chopped chives.

***

Simply delicious! 

***

Friday, 17 January 2014 - , , , 2 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE: Quark


Quark is a dairy product- it's a virtually fat free soft cheese.
I had never bought or used it before I tried the Filling & Healthy or Simple Start aspects of the WeightWatchers plan but now I always have a pot of it in my fridge!
If you are propointing, 1 tablespoon is 1pp/approx.44kcal.
Straight from the pot, it has a slightly sour, yoghurty tang and it's pretty bland…but if you mix it with flavours and other ingredients, it's a really versatile little product.

***

I use Quark in both sweet and savoury dishes. Because the flavour is neutral, it works equally well with vanilla, sweeteners, lemon etc as it does with savoury flavours. I mix it with fresh or dried herbs, tuna or salmon for patés, with mushrooms or spinach for creamy pasta sauces. You can also use it instead of spread in a sandwich. These are just a few examples.
You'll see it appearing in quite a few of my recipes, especially the ones I've developed for Simple Start. One important cooking tip-don't let it boil as it separates and becomes a yucky texture.
If I still can't convince you, you can always substitute it for low fat yoghurt or cottage cheese! 
Monday, 13 January 2014 - , , , , , 2 comments

RECIPE : Beef Steak Haché with Butternut Squash Chips


Beef steak haché is really a posh name for a flat burger! It's seasoned minced beef which is pressed together to form a steak shape, which you then chargrill or fry in a pan. It's delicious served with chips and a salad-no need for a bun!

***

My recipe works out to 5pp/approx.300kcal for this whole meal which includes 1 teaspoon of oil for the butternut squash chips.

It's also Filling & Healthy or Simple Start friendly. If you are following either of these options, you could serve this with potato chips instead.
The oil is from your daily allowance.

***

YOU WILL NEED : (Per portion)

125g Extra lean minced beef
1 clove garlic, chopped
Mixed dried Italian herbs
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Black pepper
1 teaspoon low salt soy sauce

*

1/2 a medium butternut squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
Mixed dried Italian herbs

***


Start by cutting the butternut squash into chips. Mix with the oil and seasoning.
Spread in a flat layer on a baking tray.
Bake for 40-50 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas6 until golden brown on the outside.


10-15 minutes before the chips are ready, mix all the seasoning ingredients into the beef mince. Mix well with a fork.


Compress the beef with a fork. Form into a flat steak shape. Cook on a medium-high heat in a griddle or frying pan for 5 minutes each side until lovely and brown.


Serve with a simple green salad. Dress lightly with some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

***

TIPS

You could serve with 1 tablespoon light mayo for an extra 1pp/25kcal or take from your daily Extra Treats on Simple Start.
*
Traditionally, the French serve steak haché with a fried egg on top-great for protein and makes it even more filling!
This is 2pp/63kcal or allowed as an unlimited food on Filling & Healthy or Simple Start.
Thursday, 9 January 2014 - , , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Lovely Limey Larb Salad


One of the first recipes I ever tried when I started WeightWatchers, was a dish called Larb. I'd never heard of it before- it was from the first WeightWatchers cookery book I bought in my meeting.
It's a Thai dish consisting of tasty crisp fried beef which is often served in small lettuce 'cups'. I've made it so many times over the years but thought I'd share my own version which is simply scattered onto fresh salad leaves.
It's very quick and easy to make and so delicious, beautiful and vibrant. I like it all year round but especially this time of year when a salad which uses warm ingredients is really inviting.
This dish will fit into any version of the plan, whether you're counting Propoints, doing a Filling & Healthy day or Simple Start, so a real winner all round!
I've made mine with beef but you can substitute for chicken, turkey, pork (extra lean) or Quorn mince.

***

This recipe works out to 6pp/approx.300kcal per portion


YOU WILL NEED : (Per Portion)

For the Larb:

125g Extra lean beef mince
or 150g Quorn mince.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons low salt soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 fresh chilli (optional)
Juice of 1/2 a lime

For the salad:

Mixed salad leaves
2 Spring onions
1/2 carrot cut into julienne strips
Fresh coriander
1 red onion
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Garlic pepper
Dried garlic flakes

***


Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the beef/Quorn.
Fry on a high heat and separate the strands of meat. Add chopped onion, garlic, chilli, soy sauce and seasoning. Stir and fry for 10-15 minutes until really brown and crispy.


Pop the cooked beef into a mixing bowl. Add the juice of half a lime. Stir well and allow to cool slightly.


Arrange a generous amount of salad leaves onto your serving plate.


Top with the warm, limey larb. Add fresh coriander leaves, chopped Spring onions and julienned carrot strips.


Finally, scatter with thinly sliced red onion and more lime juice. Season with garlic pepper and dried garlic flakes for a spectacular finish.

***

TIP

Try using your favourite seasonings, spices and salad ingredients. Ring the changes each time you make this dish depending what you have in the fridge. You could even add some finely diced mango to sweeten and freshen it up. Fresh mint would work really well too, especially in the Summer.

***

Tuesday, 7 January 2014 - 0 comments

Hot Off The Press NEWS! : Slice-of-Slim is 2 Today!


At the end of 2011, I started to photograph the foods I was making on a daily basis and popping them on my personal Facebook page. After a few positive comments, I soon realised I had a great deal to say and was bursting with ideas.
I had a tremendous need to share my recipes, tips and inspirations gathered along my personal weight loss journey.

So, exactly two years ago today, I asked my daughter how to start a blog. My lovely, patient girl helped me to set it all up, and even came up with the perfect name.
Thus, Slice-Of-Slim was born!

Excitedly, I put fingers to keyboard for the very first time and have never looked back.

***

In two years, I have...

 Written 354 posts...

...Had almost 500,000 hits/views.

…Built a loyal following of thousands of supporters from all over the world who connect; 

On the blog
Via Facebook
Twitter
Instagram and Pinterest

(Click on your desired destination for a link!)

...A career as a food writer with a regular column in
Weight Watchers (UK) Magazine.
(Thanks River Group)!

And in 2014 I'm going to be working closely with WeightWatchers social media team on some fantastic projects!

***


Of course, I love everything about the process of blogging - creating recipes, styling and photographing my dishes alongside writing descriptively about the processes and flavours....but the most important aspect for me is supporting and inspiring all of you on your own journeys - whether that is weight loss, maintaining or just wanting to eat more healthily.

***

Thank you to all my supporters, friends and family who have been there every step of the way with me. I appreciate the fact that you constantly return to read my posts each day.
It wouldn't exist without you.

I'm still brimming with ideas, hopes and dreams for Slice-of-Slim, so lets see if 2014 is going to be another exciting year.

***



By the way, the 'Number 2' in the feature photo at the top of this page is a delicious Tomato Soup which is Simple Start and Filling & Healthy friendly...(Zero pp too!)
(Click HERE for recipe)

***

Slice-Of-Slim
Keeping the joy of food alive by reducing the fat and retaining the yumminess!

All my love,
Janey
x x x
Sunday, 5 January 2014 - , 6 comments

Hot Off The Press NEWS! : My Film Debut!




Most of you will probably have seen the WeightWatchers SIMPLE START film on Youtube by now!
(Click HERE for link)

I had a meeting with the social media team at WeightWatchers in October last year and I'm now going to be involved in quite a few projects with them as an avid member and food blogger.

I filmed this in December but wasn't allowed to say anything as it was TOP SECRET but I've been bursting to tell you all about it!



As with anything like this, it's very hard to convey a whole concept in such a short film, but it was an authentic and real situation (apart from the camera men and the director!) and it was totally unscripted. We really were sitting, drinking tea and chatting...(Well I drank my tea but Louise doesn't like it!)

Obviously, I needed to understand certain facts about SIMPLE START so I had read the book about a million times and had already started my recipe development by then but they cut the bit out where I talked about my pizza and shepherds pie recipes!

***

Louise (A.K.A SprinkleofGlitter)is a very well known Youtube blogger with her own lifestyle channel. She is on a "GlitterGetsFitter" quest this year, so wanted to find out more about WeightWatchers as she was thinking of joining. 
WeightWatchers asked me to speak to her as a real member who has lost weight with them and explain a little bit about SIMPLE START from a members perspective.
We were filmed for about 4 hours but it's only a 2 minute film so it was just meant to give potential and current members the encouragement to give it a go…and I couldn't give it all away or nobody would have needed the book!

***

I was pretty nervous but the director from Saatchi and Saatchi was so kind and really put me at ease. If we made little mistakes or stumbled over our words, we just filmed it again. They had to ask me to stop speaking when I opened the hamper as it was really loud and squeaky!

***

I really hope you all enjoyed it. I managed to watch it without having to hide behind a cushion and I have some more exciting things to share with you in the coming weeks so watch this space...

If any of you are trying SIMPLE START I wish you every success. I'll be posting recipes regularly on the blog so don't fear, you won't get bored!