Saturday, 29 March 2014 - , , , , 1 comments

SIMPLE START : Sage & Onion Stuffing


I love taking requests for recipes, so when Allan Crowley contacted me through my WeightWatcher leader's Facebook page to ask  if I could come up with a tasty stuffing recipe for a Simple Start or Filling & Healthy day, I was happy to take up the challenge!
This recipe is really simple and very tasty-just what you need to round off a delicious roast dinner-all of which is possible on the plan!

***


YOU WILL NEED:

WeightWatchers Brown Danish Bread
(It must be the 1pp per slice variety)
Onions
Eggs
Dried sage & thyme
Black pepper
reduced fat soy sauce
fresh basil leaves
lemon zest

Portion guideline- 6 slices bread, 2 onions, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons dried herbs, zest of one lemon makes 8 stuffing balls or enough for about 4 portions

*




Toast 4 slices of WeightWatchers Brown Danish Bread.
Allow to cool.



Chop up a couple of onions and fry gently in a little Frylight oil. Season generously with dried sage and thyme and a splash of low salt soy sauce.



Pop a lid on the pan and sweat the onions until soft. This takes around 10 minutes.



Blitz the toast in a food processor to make fine breadcrumbs, then add the cooked onion and blitz again until it forms a paste.



Tip into a bowl and add some chopped basil and the zest of one lemon.



Mix with 2 eggs and breadcrumbs made from 2 more fresh slices of WeightWatchers Brown Danish bread.



Wet your hands to roll the mixture into stuffing balls, or press into a small oven dish using a fork.
Bake at 200C/400F/Gas6 for 20-30 minutes until crisp and golden.



Serve alongside a traditional roast dinner as a delicious accompaniment.

***

TIPS

Try adding mushrooms to the onions and fry before blitzing.
*
Experiment with different herbs and seasonings such as garlic, parsley, orange rind.
*
You could shape into sausage shapes to make your own vegetarian sausages!


***

PRINT RECIPE HERE
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 - , , , 2 comments

Hot Off The Press NEWS : Tesco Healthy Living Range


Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of
Tesco's Healthy Living Range.


Now here's a company on my wavelength who have really nailed it. They have developed a range of attractive, tasty foods for customers who want to make healthier food choices without compromise-
just like Slice-of-Slim!

Some are ready made meals-great for those time-short moments, but there are also sauces, dips, wraps, dressings, cereal bars etc if you prefer to combine your own ingredients and get inventive.

***

The range has been split into two categories;


Healthy Living
Big on taste, lower in calories
for people trying to lose weight.


This range even has the propoints calculated for you and clearly shown on the back-FANTASTIC! 


and
Healthy Living
Beautifully Balanced
for people trying to eat more healthily or maintain their weight.


Both ranges have controlled levels of salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat. What really impressed me is that NONE of the products have the red nutritional traffic-light colour coding on the front of the packaging. So as a consumer, you can see instantly that you are making a wise food choice.

***

It was great to have the opportunity to chat to the product range developers- the nutritionist, brand developer and brand manager. So much thought has gone into this range and I really felt that they understood their consumers' needs-our cravings, our need for innovation and excitement as well as wanting to eat more healthily.


They even pointed out details to me that I may not have spotted-like the scoops taken out of the sides of the cardboard sleeves on the packaging not only show the food clearly, but are more exaggerated for the lower calorie range (suggesting an hourglass waistline) and slightly less so for the balanced range.
These may not seem important, but these details help us consumers subliminally - reiterating the healthy message and the promise these foods are going to deliver.

***


So, let me set the scene for you.
The lunch took place at a beautiful old establishment called Kettners in Soho.


We were greeted with a selection of canapés which showcased the Healthy Living Range.
I tried the
Sweet Chilli Chicken Little Gem Cups
and the
King Prawn and Mango Salsa Pots.


I was delighted to see that this had not been put together just for the event- here's how you buy this particular dish.
It's £3 and 3pp/115kcal and would be delightful to serve guests or even grab instead of a sandwich at lunchtime-right up my street!
I really enjoyed the flavours too.
The King Prawn and Mango Salsa was delicious. £2.00 for 2 pots and 2pp/72kcal per portion-fab!

***


Spicy Lentil and Chickpea dip served with Honey and Linseed Crackers was a refreshing change from humous and carrot sticks!

I also like to do my own thing with ingredients, so was thrilled to see these wraps made up using


Beetroot, Canellini Bean & Mint dip
(£1 per pot and 2pp/83kcal per 1/4pot serving) cleverly combined with feta, bell peppers and rocket-yes! Refreshing, innovative and tasty!

***


The room was dressed to perfection. The attention to detail reflected the thought that had gone into the product range. The flowers picked up on the packaging colours...


The window sills were bedecked with fresh produce displays- inspiring us to want to eat healthily and sending us the message that everything we were about to consume was going to be good for us and made with fresh ingredients!


Lit candles set into fresh apples lined the tables and greeted us with a refreshing and Spring-like scent...


Then we did a taste test, where we blind-tasted the Healthy Living Range against the same dishes with a higher fat content...


I genuinely preferred the Healthy Living Range in pretty much every dish!

***


For the main course, we tasted;

Chicken Saag & Rice

Teryaki Chicken with Brown Rice & Ponzu Sauce

Braised Beef & Root Veg Mash

The Chicken Saag and the Teryaki Chicken were my favourites with delicious, authentic flavours.
I would definitely buy them to use at home.

It will take too long to give you the nutritional information on every dish we sampled, so I will review my favourites and post all the information separately for you.


With two vegetarians in my household, I was delighted to see that the vegetarians at our table were well catered for-with an interesting selection of;

Spiced Butternut with Fruity Pilaf & Feta

Bean & Vegetable Chilli with Rice

Sweet Potato & Jerk Rice

***


For dessert, we sampled 

Chocolate Sundae
&
Caramel Iced Dessert
both of which were delicious and you can buy as part of the Healthy Living Range.

But in true Slice-of-Slim style, my favourite desserts were the ones that had been innovated by the Tesco chef using various products from the range to show us how versatile and delicious they could be...

So we had;

Healthy Living Inspired;

Strawberry & Raspberry Cheesecake

Made with;
5 seed Fruit & Nut Bars
Extra Light Soft Cheese
Strawberry Yoghurt


Blueberry Creme Brûlée

Made with;
Vanilla Yoghurt
Manuka Honey
Fresh Blueberries

Even though I'm a total chocoholic, my favourite desserts were the Iced Caramel and the last two 'invented' dishes.

***


We were sent home with a beautiful hamper of selected goodies to try.
I can't wait to go and see the range for myself in store and pick out some more items to try as it's a really comprehensive range with many lines. Obviously the range selection will vary depending on store size and location.


I hope you will see how inspired I am. I can see that I will genuinely buy some of the convenience dishes on those days when I just don't have time to cook from scratch but want to still give my family and myself healthy choices where everything has been worked out for me. 
I will definitely try the cooking sauces, such as Thai Green Curry, but most of all, I'm looking forward to creating my own dishes using products from both ranges as my basis for innovation-so watch this space!

***

A Tesco Triumph.

***

Thursday, 20 March 2014 - , , , 1 comments

SIMPLE START : Dumplings!


When I visited a WeightWatchers meeting a few weeks ago, the lovely Wendy Price from Coventry asked me if I could invent some dumplings for members following Simple Start or Filling & Healthy.
Well-here they are! They are extremely simple to make and a great addition to soups or casseroles to give that filling comfort we all search for.

***

This amount makes 14 dumplings;


Take 3 slices of WeightWatchers
brown Danish bread.
(It must be the 1pp per slice variety). 


Blitz into fine breadcrumbs in a food processor.


Tip into a bowl. Add 1 medium egg, white pepper and granulated garlic to taste.


Mash together really well using a fork until the breadcrumbs are totally incorporated into the egg. It will be a very stiff mixture.
Leave to sit for a few minutes.


Wet your hands in cold water and roll into balls. If you use a teaspoon measure, this amount will make 14 dumplings. Bear in mind that they swell to about 4 times their size once cooked, so I like this size. You can make them bigger but you run the risk of them being uncooked on the inside.


By using a measuring spoon, this will ensure that all the dumplings are an even size.


Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil and drop the dumplings in carefully one at a time.


Boil in the water for 10-15 minutes until they have puffed up. Don't be tempted to cook them in your soup or casserole or they will soak up all your tasty liquid.If you want them to absorb some flavours, you could add a stock cube or some soy sauce to your cooking water.


Once cooked, add them to your chosen dish. Cook for another 5 minutes so that they absorb some of their surrounding flavours.
When you serve them they will be firm in texture, but squidgy too-perfect little steamed dumplings!

***

Squidge.

***



RECIPE : Lemon Curd


I have a new-found passion for lemon curd at the moment. It's a flavour that enhances yoghurt, quark or just makes a fabulous topping for crumpets, crisp breads and toast. The only problem with the shop-bought stuff is that it's full of sugar and butter so pretty high in propoints/calories.

Well guess what?
I've been up to my Slice-of-Slim magic again and created a version that is fat-free and sugar-free. It works out to about half the propoints/calories of regular lemon curd AND fits into a Filling & Healthy and Simple Start day! It's also extremely easy to make.
What more could you ask for? 

***

The reason mine is such a stunning bright yellow is because a good friend turned up this week with fresh eggs laid by his chickens -so this batch is extra special.

***

My lemon curd recipe makes 70g/14 teaspoons.
The WHOLE jar works out to 4pp/approx.170kcal.
(It's a very small jar! )

1 teaspoon/5g is 0pp/12kcal
You can have up to 5 teaspoons/25g for 1pp/60kcal
Up to 9 teaspoons/45g for 2pp/108kcal
Up to 12 teaspoons/60g for 3pp/144kcal

***

YOU WILL NEED

2 medium egg yolks
(save the whites for an egg white frittata/omelette or meringues)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon artificial sweetener
3 tablespoons cold water

***


Simply place all the ingredients into a bowl.


Place the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water on the hob. Whisk gently with a hand whisk, constantly until it thickens. This takes 5-10 minutes. It's really important to cook it by this slow method as you don't want to end up with scrambled eggs!


You will end up with a beautifully smooth, glossy mixture with a consistency similar to mayonnaise. Have a taste. You may wish to add a little more lemon juice or sweetener according to your personal taste.

At this stage you can sieve the lemon curd-this really enhances the texture.


Decant it carefully into a suitable container.
Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge.


Keep it covered in the fridge. Depending on the freshness of your eggs, this should keep for 3-4 days but I bet you eat it all up sooner!

***

Lemon Curdyliscious.

***

TIPS

Add to quark or natural yoghurt for a delicious topping for fresh fruit.

Mix some lemon zest to the above mixture and stir into my frozen banana 'ice-cream' base.
(click HERE for recipe)

Use instead of shop-bought lemon curd in my Peanut Butter Crumpet Surprise.
(Click HERE for recipe)
This reduces the propoints by 1.

Try making lime, tangerine or grapefruit flavours too!

***

Friday, 14 March 2014 - , , , , , , 2 comments

SMASH & GRAB : Peanut Butter Crumpet Surprise




At first glance this looks just like a toasted crumpet spread with peanut butter…but this one has a little surprise waiting for you! 
When you bite into it, it's filled with lemon curd - WOW!
I can feel a whole collection of crumpet surprises coming on so watch this space!

This fabulous little snack will set you back 4pp/approx.160kcal.
(Two would be 8pp)

It's a filling and delicious mini feast, lovely with a cup of tea.

***

YOU WILL NEED: (per crumpet)

1 crumpet
(I used a crumpet with a propoint value of 2pp - please check as they do vary)
10g lemon curd
10g reduced fat peanut butter

***


Make a wide slit in the side of the crumpet right into the centre so that it is easy to fill after toasting.


While the crumpet is toasting, weigh out the lemon curd and reduced fat peanut butter.


As soon as it's toasted, fill the crumpet with lemon curd. Close it up.


Spread the top of the crumpet with peanut butter. Leave whole or cut into quarters.


Salty, creamy and peanutty on the outside.
Sweet, tangy and oozy lemon on the inside.


***

Surprise!

***

TIPS

Try swapping the lemon curd for 10g Chocolate Philadelphia. Same propoints, different surprise!

Try flipping it around so that the peanut butter is on the inside and the lemon curd or choccy is on the top! 

***