Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - , , 0 comments

Cupboard Love: Tesco Healthy Living Primavera Risotto

As you know, I'm a bit of a fan of the new Tesco Healthy Living Range. I'm reviewing my favourite elements from the range on a regular basis.


Tesco seem to have really caught on to what we busy healthy eaters are after...wholesome, nourishing, tasty food that is low in fat and salt.

This Primavera Risotto is fabulous because it tastes really homemade and fresh. It's creamy and contains plenty of freshly-cooked peas, asparagus and baby spinach-and it's only 6pp/244kcal!
The propoints are already calculated for us Weight Watchers, and printed on the packaging.
It costs £3.25


The portion is a reasonable size but as you know, I'm a great one for tinkering with ready meals, so if you are particularly hungry, just serve it on a bed of wilted spinach or cook a load more broccoli.
You could serve one portion as a light starter for 2 people.

I happen to like my risotto really lemony and peppery so I always have a taste then play with the flavours to suit my personal preferences.
Don't be afraid to add your favourite seasonings to ready meals-think of them as a blank canvas to enhance.

And one last thing- the golden rule of ready meals is;
Always put them into a proper bowl and don't eat out of the plastic box-then you can convince yourself (and everyone else) you made it from scratch!


Saturday, 26 April 2014 - 2 comments

Hot Off The Press NEWS! : Greek Masterclass with Tonia Buxton and Total Yoghurt

I was lucky enough to be a guest of FAGE Total Greek yoghurt last week, where I spent the day with the amazing and hilarious TV cook Tonia Buxton, learning how to prepare some beautiful, traditional Greek dishes. 

This all took place at La Cucina Caldesi, a chic little Italian cookery school just off Marylebone High Street.

The sign had been cheekily sabotaged, so even as I walked into the venue, I knew that the feisty combination of Tonia and Total meant business and a fun day ahead!

An excited 'babble' of enthusiastic
food bloggers 

(A 'babble' has to be the collective name for a group of bloggers don't you think?)

grouped together to listen to Tonia and some of her funny anecdotes about growing up in a traditional Greek household, learning her cooking skills from her mother (despite the fact that she always had to do the washing up!)

As it was Easter week, Tonia shared some Greek recipes and traditions for this time of year. We played 'tsougrisma' (commonly known as egg-bashing!) using these vibrant eggs which had been dyed red for the occasion.

Of course, Tonia was very experienced in this game and gleefully, swiftly beat us all!

We gravitated into small groups of 4 or 5 people to cook the dishes. I was drawn towards these amazing girlies and we literally laughed (and tweeted!) all day!
After Tonia in the photo above we have;

...who has just had an incredible book published and was the cause of my crazy compulsion to make an ironed omelette shirt last week!

...from Taste Mauritius who runs amazing supper clubs and pop-up events

(No introduction necessary)

...from Lulabella's Kitchen. Lulabella and I have been cyber friends for a couple of years. Lucia writes a WeightWatchers-friendly blog and also has a catering business.
This was the first time we had actually met!

and the beautiful

Bailee Roberts (above left)

...from The Model Foodie joined us later.
Bailee is a model and blogs about wonderful, healthy clean eating.

(If you click on the names above, you will have the links straight through to their respective websites so you can see for yourselves what a talented bunch they are!)

As we were all enthusiastic cooks, we automatically assumed our roles within the team and swiftly produced some fabulous results!


 The recipes we made were delicious and even though traditionally served at Easter, they could be eaten any time of year.
So, I have taken my time to put each one through the WeightWatchers recipe builder so that I can give you accurate propoints for each one.
I have made a couple of teeny modifications where necessary to shave off a few propoints here and there.
I've decided to bring you one of Tonia's recipes per week over the next three weeks...


Firstly I'll be sharing;

Sea Bream Fillets with Olives,
Capers & Lemon
with a Yoghurt and Tahini Sauce

 These pan-fried fillets make a fabulous starter or light meal...the flavours in the topping are a taste of the Mediterranean!


Next, I'll share...

Greek Lamb Patties

These beauties are tray-baked with a selection of fresh vegetables and lemon with a sprinkling of feta...and a drizzle of the tahini sauce!


And finally...

Anarocrema Dessert

These gorgeous yoghurt-based desserts are easy and fun to make and TOTALLY delicious!
(get the pun?)


This was a day I will never forget...I count my blessings every day as a food blogger that I can experience something like this and bring back these inspirations to Slice-of-Slim to share with you all.


Thankyou to Emma and Alison at Total Yoghurt and Tonia for the most amazing day.


Many of the photos above are my own with the exception of those taken by the very talented Satureyes Photography
Thursday, 24 April 2014 - , , , , , , 11 comments

RECIPE : Lasagne

I recently asked my followers which foods they missed the most from their pre-weightloss days. I had about 100 replies in 30 minutes!

I adore troubleshooting recipes for people-infact I feel a bit like a magician as I love making the seemingly impossible possible.
I've done so many of these now that I actually have a new category on the blog called
Janey's SOS!
One of the top requests was for lasagne.
Many people think they have to avoid foods like this when trying to lose or maintain weight....but with a few simple ingredient changes and some lateral thinking, most things are possible!


Jill Groves, a friend of mine and
Slice-of-Slim follower said that all the low fat lasagnes she has tried tended to be dry...so I made it my mission to come up with the creamiest, most luscious version I could!
My recipe is for vegetarians and meat eaters alike-it's a simple conversion with only one extra propoint per serving for the meat variety.


Lasagne is all about the preparation. You need  an hour or so to make both the Bolognaise and bechamel sauces but then it's a simple assembly job. You could make the sauces a day or two in advance and keep them chilled or frozen before you make the finished dish.


Some restaurant or shop-bought lasagnes can be as much as 18-20pp/750-800kcal per portion...

My Lasagne makes 8 generous portions at 7pp/approx.340kcal per portion for the vegetarian version or 8pp/approx.380kcal per portion for the meat version.


YOU WILL NEED: (Serves 8)

A large oblong oven-proof dish

9 dried lasagne sheets
(no need to pre-cook)

Bolognaise sauce
(see below)

Bechamel sauce
(see below)

20g grated parmesan
(I buy these tiny bags
so I'm not tempted to use more)

2 Babybel light/or 2pp/80kcal of any reduced fat cheese of your choice.
(Usually around 30-40g depending on brand)


Bolognaise sauce

(Vegetarian or lean ground beef version)
My recipe is the simplest you'll ever follow!

Click HERE for my detailed recipe
or follow the quick instructions below;

350g pack of Quorn mince (vegetarian)
450g pack extra lean minced beef
1 jar (700g) thick passata
100g tomato puree
1 tin whole cherry tomatoes
1 mug water
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons granular sweetener
2 teaspoons dried mixed Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs fresh basil
Black pepper
1 teaspoon cornflour

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade


Put ALL of the above sauce ingredients into the pan excluding the cornflour.

Mix everything together thoroughly-break up the minced beef with a fork until everything is combined. So, at this stage, no heat has been applied, all the ingredients are cold.
Place the pan, uncovered, into a preheated oven (190 degrees centigrade).

Leave for

20-30 minutes for the Quorn version
40-50 minutes for the meat version.


With a wooden spoon, stir thoroughly, mixing in the thickened, caramelized parts from the edges.
Cover the pan loosely with foil and cook for a further

10 minutes for the Quorn version
30 minutes for the meat version.

Add the cornflour, mixed with a little cold water. (This just takes away any watery residue).
You can serve it at this stage, but if you have the time, turn the oven off and allow to cool in the oven.


Bechamel sauce

My Slice-of-Slim bechamel is very very simple to make!
I realised that this doesn't have to be stuffed full of cheese inside the lasagne, leaving a few propoints for some lovely tasty cheese just on top.
I achieve a thick,rich and glossy sauce by using lightest Philadelphia cream cheese. I also allow for lashings of sauce which is what prevents a dry lasagne.


1 litre unsweetened soya/skimmed milk
8 tablespoons cornflour
200g lightest philadelphia
white pepper/black pepper to taste
garlic granules to taste


Measure out the milk. While cold, add the cornflour. Stir well.

Cook on high in the microwave in 2-3 minute bursts, stirring in between until the mixture has come to the boil and thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon.
If you prefer, you can cook in a pan on the hob, stirring occasionally until thick.

Add the philadelphia and beat until it is thoroughly mixed in with no lumps. This is your beautiful, thick, glossy sauce. Season quite generously with pepper and garlic granules to give it a subtle flavour. Don't worry if it is a little bland.
Use straight away or cool and refrigerate until you need it.


Now for the assembly!

There are so many ways to layer up a lasagne but this is the best way to keep it moist and saves on using too much pasta!
So...reading this photo from left to right...

Pop a little Bolognaise sauce just to cover the base of the dish.


Next add 3 sheets of lasagne.


Add 1/2 the remaining Bolognaise and around 1/3 of the bechamel sauce.


Next add 3 more sheets of lasagne.


Add the remaining Bolognaise sauce.


Next add the last 3 sheets of lasagne.


Add the remaining bechamel to form a generous, thick layer to cover everything well.


Scatter the grated parmesan and grate the Babybel in an even layer over the top.


Bake for 40 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas6
until brown, bubbly and crispy on top.


Cut into 8 equal servings.

Each serving should have an even distribution of sauces and 3 layers of pasta.

The tasty, crispy parmesan and creamy Babybel on the top is enough to trick your brain into thinking it's packed with cheese!
The tomatoey Bolognaise sauce is rich and pungent, contrasting with the luxurious, silky bechamel.

Serve simply with a fresh, green salad.


Luscious Lasagne.



Any remaining portions can be surrounded in foil in individual portions and kept in the fridge or freezer.
Make a loose lid out of foil. When you reheat, keep covered for 15-20 minutes then uncover for 5-10 minutes to crisp up.

Label with the propoints so you can grab from the fridge or freezer after a busy day!


Saturday, 19 April 2014 - , , , 3 comments

RECIPE : American Style Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

As you know, I love making your dreams come true and showing you that anything is possible even if you're trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
You don't need to feel deprived-there's always a solution to our cravings! So when my friend Jill told me that the food she missed the most from her pre weightloss days was baked vanilla cheesecake, I just had to rise to the challenge!


My baked vanilla cheesecake has a dense, velvet-textured creaminess on a lovely sweet biscuit base.
Most shop-bought American-style cheesecakes start at around 9-10pp/approx.400kcal for a small slice.
Mine is 4pp/approx.160kcal per slice!


My recipe has a traditional digestive biscuit base, but I've found a clever way to lower the fat content significantly by using 30% reduced fat biscuits and binding them with melted marshmallows instead of butter!
Read on, you'll see how to do it.
The cake is very easy to make but it takes time to bake and more importantly, time to cool down and chill before eating. This is really important otherwise the texture just won't be right-however desperate you may be to sink your teeth in!


YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 8)

8 reduced fat digestive biscuits
30g mini marshmallows
3 eggs
50g caster sugar
250g Quark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract/essence

A loose-bottomed cake tin 8"/20cms


How to make the base

Make sure that you use a loose-bottomed cake tin for this recipe as the finished cake is very moist and hard to handle!

Mist the inside of the tin with Frylight oil.

Count out 8 reduced fat digestive biscuits and pop them in a polythene bag.

Bash them with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.

Tip into a bowl. Any large pieces of biscuit remaining can be broken down with a pestle or wooden spoon.

Now for the clever part! 
Add the mini marshmallows and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds until they puff up.

Use a fork to mix the crumbs into the melted marshmallow. It's very sticky at this stage but keep going until you can't incorporate any more crumbs.
It forms a kind of crummy 'dough'.

With clean hands, keep turning and pushing the crumb 'dough' into the remaining crumbs, pressing down so that they stick to any exposed marshmallow.

Keep going until you have a very dry but pliable mixture. If you have a few biscuit crumbs left in the bowl, don't worry, you can add them later.

Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out into a rough circle to fit the base of your tin. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Press it into the tin. Don't worry if you have any small spaces.

Any remaining crumbs can be sprinkled over to fill the gaps.

Pop the base to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.


How to make the cheesecake

Separate the eggs, put the yolks to one side.
Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until firm.
Gradually incorporate the sugar, whisking each time.

You should have a lovely, thick meringue-like mixture. Place to one side.

 Pop the Quark and vanilla extract into another large mixing bowl.

Add the egg yolks.

 Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth and silky.

Gently fold in the whisked egg white mixture one generous dollup-ful at a time! Use a large metal spoon to do this in a figure-of-eight motion. Dont beat the mixture, you want to keep as much air in it as possible.

When everything is beautifully blended, gently spoon the mixture over the biscuit base.

Using a spatula, smooth the mixture right to the edges.
Bake for 15 minutes at
then once a lovely golden colour, turn the oven down to
and bake for a further 25 minutes.
Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and allow the cake to cool in the oven for as long as possible.

The cake will be this beautiful rich caramel colour. Don't worry if it cracks slightly. It will also have a 'mousse'-type appearance, which will sink and condense down slightly as the cake cools.
Once cooled in the oven, place in the fridge to chill for around 2-4 hours.

Chilling thoroughly not only improves the texture of the cake but will make it easy to remove from the tin.
Simply run a knife around the edge of the cake then push the loose base up. I always leave my cheesecake on the metal base on the serving plate as it is quite delicate to handle.

Cut into eight equal slices. I love the cracked, rustic appearance. You could always dust with a tiny sprinkling of icing sugar if this bothers you.

Serve simply with fresh strawberries.


Slimmified cheesecake!



Try serving with a WeightWatchers Greek style lemon yoghurt, or mix some Total 0% with some lemon curd.


Try adding lemon zest to the cheesecake mixture before baking.


Top with sliced banana, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.


Try WeightWatchers biscuits in the base. You'll need 4 packets of 2 biscuits. I used ginger and lemon flavour which was delicious. Chocolate chip would be good too. 
This doesn't affect the propoints per slice.


For a denser, 'heavier' textured cheesecake, add 200g Lightest Philadelphia to the Quark mixture and beat well to remove any lumps. Bake more slowly at 140C/275F/Gas1 for 1 hour as this version cracks more easily.
This adds another 1pp/40kcal to each serving.
(My taste testers all preferred the original, lighter version!)