Friday, 28 October 2016 - , , , , , , , 2 comments

HALLOWEEN!! : Transforming Trick-or-Treaterpillars

Here's my crazy Halloween idea for this year!


These tantalising tangerines look just like miniature Halloween pumpkins.
However...once untied and unrolled, they magically TRANSFORM into evil little edible bugs!
They are a
all rolled into one! 

Great fun and easy to make with the kids and each one is only


(Makes 4 Trick-or-Treaterpillars)

4 tangerines
20g plain chocolate
20g white chocolate

4 tablespoons sugar sprinkles 
(I used these orange & black Halloween ones)

12 white micro marshmallows

2 liquorice laces cut into short strips
(either strawberry or black-I cut the black ones from liquorice pinwheels)


Start by gently slicing through the peel of the tangerines about 1/3 of the way down the fruits. Try not to cut the flesh.

Take off the top section of peel and discard.

Repeat on the other side then make one cut through the peel so that you can open it up between 2 segments.

Leaving the strip of peel attached, gently separate each segment so that they sit in a pleasing line.

Roll the fruit back up then melt the chocolate. Pop the sugar sprinkles in a small dish.

Holding the tangerine together firmly, coat the exposed fruit with melted chocolate using a teaspoon.

Dunk straight into the sprinkles.

Repeat on the other end of the fruit, then immediately unfurl onto greaseproof paper to set. Repeat with the rest of the tangerines.
This recipe gives you enough chocolate to make 2 dark and 2 white bugs.
Make sure you have a little chocolate left for final decorations.

Cut the marshmallows into tiny pointed 'teeth' using scissors.

Using a teaspoon, coat the front of the first segment of each fruit with chocolate.
This will become the face of the Trick-or-Treaterpillar.

Make 2 dark chocolate and 2 white chocolate faces. Before the chocolate sets, press the marshmallow 'teeth' along the edge.

Make 2 blobs for eyes. Use white chocolate on the dark faces and dark chocolate on the white.

Using the end of a skewer or a cocktail stick, blob a contrasting colour of chocolate to make the eyes come to life.

Don't worry about making them too perfect-they look more comical if they're a bit wonky!

To make legs, simply dip one end of the liquorice strips into melted chocolate.

Wedge the legs into the base of the segments of the tangerine.
Arrange in pairs down the body of the bug. Make about 4 pairs per bug.

When you have finished decorating, pop them  onto greaseproof paper.
To use up the remaining chocolate, randomly 'flick' it in all directions from a teaspoon over the bodies of the bugs. The higher you hold the spoon, the finer the lines will be.
Pop into the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to set firmly.

Once set, roll the bugs back up. Secure the gap with a little masking or washi tape.

Tie with a piece of rustic string to finish.

Arrange on your serving dish.

As each person takes their bug, they perform their own trick by untying the 'pumpkin'...

...and letting the cheeky
Trick-or Treaterpillars
loose before scoffing! 


Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, 18 October 2016 - , , , , , , , , 1 comments

SMASH & GRAB : Griddled Halloumi & Apple Chutney Crostini

This is one of those simple no-performance dishes you can literally throw together in a few minutes.
It's a substantial light snack or makes a great starter too.
The flavours are quite wonderful...crusty toast acts as a bland carrier, laden with my homemade apple chutneythen topped with slices of griddled light Halloumi. A handful of rocket leaves and a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce brings everything together in a mouth-watering ensemble.

At 6sp/5pp/approx.250kcal per portion, it's almost too good to be true!


YOU WILL NEED : (Per portion)

Two 20g slices crusty bread
(I used a white poppy-seed crusted bread 
which worked out to 3sp/2pp)

Two 20g slices halloumi light cheese
This has 30% less fat than regular halloumi
(It works out to 3sp/3pp)

4 tablespoons apple & onion chutney
(Click HERE for link)
My recipe has 0sp/0pp. If you use an alternative or shop-bought chutney, remember to calculate propoints/calories

Handful of fresh rocket leaves

1 teaspoon Thai sweet chilli sauce


Slice the bread into very thin, 20g slices.

Mist the bread with a little Frylight oil and pop into a griddle pan with the halloumi.

Griddle over a medium heat.
When the bread is lightly toasted (about 2 minutes), spray the exposed side with a little more Frylight oil and flip it over to cook on the second side.

Load the toast generously with chutney to heat through gently. Flip the halloumi over to cook on its second side.

Using a spatula, gently place the toast onto your serving plate.

Top each piece with a slice of griddled halloumi.

Scatter with fresh rocket leaves.

Finally, drizzle lightly with Thai sweet chilli sauce.





Mango chutney would work beautifully with this dish. Adjust propoints accordingly.

If you don't like halloumi, you could top with slices of low fat cheddar and heat under the grill. Again, adjust propoints if necessary.


Sunday, 9 October 2016 - , , , , , , , , , , 4 comments

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Apple Harvest Chutney

There's nothing more grounding than picking apples straight from the tree to put you back in touch with nature. That simple twist that tells you they're ripe as they happily fall into the palm of your hand.
Each one is a gift.

I spent a lovely afternoon picking apples in my parents' garden last weekend. The mellow Autumn sunshine kept us warm while we chatted away collecting our harvest.
Before long, I had a carrier bag full of apples. Some were riper and sweeter than others, so I decided to make a delicious chutney with the more tangy ones.


My Apple Harvest Chutney couldn't be easier to make. It's one of my "chuck-it-all-in" kind of recipes. You need an hour or so to make the chutney and a few hours for it to cool thoroughly before devouring.
Its sweet, savoury, spicy flavours make it the perfect accompaniment to cheese and biscuits or cold meats.
I have a lovely toasted open sandwich idea using it, so I'll write a post about that shortly.


For us lucky WeighWatchers,
my chutney is 0sp.
(The WHOLE jar works out to 1sp)

For calorie counters, this amount is approx.700kcal...but that's a generous jar with at least 50 portions at 14kcal each!



4 large eating apples
(if you use cooking apples, you will need to add substantially more sweetener)
4 red onions
2 white onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tangerine
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons low salt soy sauce
200ml water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
large sprig fresh basil
2 tablespoons artificial granular sweetener
black pepper


Dice all the onions quite chunky and pop into a large, deep pan (I used a wok) with a little Frylight oil.
Add the chopped garlic.

Fry for a few minutes to bring some colour and flavour to the onions before adding the torn basil leaves. Squeeze the juice from the tangerine and add to the pan. Save the tangerine carcass.

Chop the remaining pulp and peel from the squeezed tangerine and add to the pan. This gives a marmalade-like quality to the finished chutney and adds another dimension of fruitiness without smartpoint-laden raisins or sultanas.

Keeping the peel on the apples, core and chop them into medium chunks. Don't chop them too small as they will break down and turn into a pulp, losing their texture. I just love the vibrant colours at this stage.

Cook for a few minutes, then add the Balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener, water and seasonings. Play around with the flavours using your own herbs and spices.

Stir well then cover the pan with a lid or some tin foil. Allow to simmer gently for around 50 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent any of the mixture sticking to the pan.

The chutney will have thickened naturally as the fruit absorbs the water as it cooks. If you feel it's too thick, add a little more water.

If you are just making a batch to enjoy right now, allow to cool and pop into a jar.
It will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

If you want to make a large batch of chutney to last a few months, it must be stored in sterilised jars. As this was my first attempt, I had to google the most effective way of doing this!
It seems that if you have a dishwasher, this is a perfectly acceptable way to sterilise a jar as long as you fill it while still hot, straight from the hot cycle.
The other more traditional way is to remove the rubber seal and pop it in a bowl. Pour boiling water onto it and leave for a few minutes. Wash the jar and pop into an oven at 150C/300F/Gas 2 for 15 minutes.

Only ever fill a hot sterilised jar with hot mixture, otherwise the jar may crack. Take extreme care at this stage.

Add the rubber seal and carefully close the lid and metal clip using oven gloves.
As the chutney cools in the jar, this will form a vacuum seal ensuring that your chutney should last a few months unopened. This means you could make batches now to sell at Christmas Fairs etc. and they will survive happily.
Once opened, the chutney will keep in the fridge for a few days.


Dollop onto cheese and biscuits for a lovely tangy flavour, adding no extra propoints!
This snack is 5sp for 6 melba toast and two slices of low fat cheese.



Make your own changes to my recipe by adding ingredients such as ginger, chilli, pineapple or mango to your chutneys. Experiment and have fun concocting your own combinations using 0pp fruits and vegetables.


Small jars make wonderful gifts too!