Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Vimto braised red cabbage

This red cabbage recipe has recently become  favourite of mine for a Sunday dinner, I took the idea from the Manchester restaurant 'The Refuge' where I went with my family for Sunday lunch when visiting my daughter. It was delicious and I thought I could replicate the recipe at home so had a try and it was very popular.

It's really easy and just looks after itself in the oven and I have also made it in my pressure king pro and I might see how it does in a slow cooker too. I think I'll definitely be making it for Christmas dinner. It is also a great dish to make ahead of time as it reheats really well and you can freeze it too which I certainly be doing on Christmas Day!


Vimto braised red cabbage

1 red cabbage (core removed and sliced thinly)
1 large onion (chopped)
50ml sugar free vimto (not diluted )
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Place everything in an ovenproof casserole mix well and cover with lid. ( If you don't have a lid a piece of foil tightly placed over the dish will be ok) then place in the oven at Gas 2/150/300 for 2 hours stirring every now and then.

Remove from the oven and taste it might need a little more balsamic and salt and pepper.

Syn free



Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Celery soup (Slimming World friendly)

It's definitely soup weather and this time of year I tend to take soup for my lunch every day for work. I bought one of those plastic soup bowls with the vented lids it makes it really easy to reheat in the microwave at work.

When I make this soup I keep it in a big plastic jug with a lid on in the fridge it keeps for about 5-7 days in the fridge. I often have some when I get in from work too while waiting for dinner to stop me picking. It freezes well too I freeze in those 'pour & store' bags pick them up from ASDA or home bargains.


Celery Soup


1 bunch celery (with leaves if possible just chopped roughly)
3-4 spring onions (chopped or a ordinary onion chopped)
2 large potatoes (diced no need to peel)
3 pints vegetable stock (from a cube or stockpot is fine)
2 tsp sage
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper


Spray a large saucepan with the spray oil and add the celery, spring onions and potatoes, Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and fry gently over a low heat for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften lightly but not brown. Just add a splash or two of water if they start to stick.

Add the sage and stock and bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Blend the soup either with a hand blender in the pan (the easiest way) or transfer to a food processor or liquidiser and blend in batches.

Add salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper in this soup)

You can also make this in the slow cooker by putting it all in together and cooking on low for 6-8 hours or in a pressure cooker using the manufacturers instructions.

Syn free and serves 4-6





Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Slow cooker old fashioned beef stew (Slimming World friendly)



Winter is here and I love making soups and stews and this one is so easy to make in the slow cooker. It's old fashioned in that it's just the meat and vegetables with some thyme and salt and pepper nothing fancy needed here.

I think it is important to brown the meat and soften the vegetables slightly before they go in the slow cooker as I think it improves the flavour but if you are in a hurry you can just throw it all in and it will still be good.


Slow cooker old fashioned beef stew


800g lean diced beef
4 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks or slices)
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
2 large potatoes (peeled if you want to and diced)
2 beef stockpots or stock cubes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cornflour
salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil


Spray a large frying pan with the low calorie spray oil and over a medium heat gently fry the onions, carrots and celery for a few minutes until they begin to soften slightly but not brown (I usually sprinkle with a little salt to help them soften) if they begin to stick just add a little water. Place them into your slow cooker.

Pat the beef dry with kitchen roll then spray the frying pan again and add the beef in batches and fry till slightly brown then add to the slow cooker or casserole dish.

Add the potatoes, thyme, stockpots and a tsp each of salt and pepper. Add water to just cover the meat and vegetables stir well and then cook on low in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.

At the end of the cooking remove the lid , stir well and turn the heat up to high in the slow cooker, In a small cup add a little cold water to the cornflour mix until smooth then stir this into the stew and stir well. Cook on high for another 15-20 minutes till it bubbles and gets a little thicker. Taste now as it will probably need some more salt and pepper.


Serves 4-6  and is less than 1 syn per portion.



Saturday, 4 November 2017

Chinese chicken and mushrooms in oyster sauce (Slimming World friendly)

I love Chinese takeaways but they can be really high in syns, This recipe means you can have all the flavour with hardly any syns.

You can find all the ingredients in any supermarket usually with all the stir fry sauces, they aren't expensive and don't worry oyster sauce doesn't taste fishy it just gives a lovely savoury flavour to the sauce. I use frozen ginger and garlic paste which is syn free or you could some paste from a jar but check as some have syns but served between four people it wouldn't be much.

I served this with loads of stir fry vegetables for lots of speed as well as some noodles. I used chicken thighs for this as I prefer the flavour but feel free to use chicken breast if you'd rather.


Chinese chicken and mushrooms in oyster sauce

500g chicken thighs (skinless, boneless and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 large onion (sliced)
250g sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
50ml oyster sauce
150ml light soy sauce
100ml water
1 tbsp cornflour
low calorie spray oil


Spray a wok or large deep frying pan lightly with the spray oil and add the onions and the ginger and garlic paste, Stir fry over a medium heat until the onion starts to soften then add the chicken and turn the heat up a little and stir fry for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken has started to brown.

Add the mushrooms, keep stir frying and meanwhile take a  jug  and add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and water and mix well.

Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the chicken mixture and keep stir frying over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Put the cornflour in a small dish and add 2 tbsp cold water and mix till smooth then add to the wok and keep stir frying  for a few more minutes till the sauce has thickened.

Serves 4 and is less than 1 syn each.



Monday, 30 October 2017

Bloody Mary soup (Slimming World friendly)

I made this soup after thinking about the flavours I love in a Bloody Mary cocktail and how good they would be in a hot soup in this cold weather. I made it and took it to my class Halloween party tonight and it was very popular.

You can adjust the heat as you like the tsp of chili flakes I used made it slightly spicy 'bit of a kick' but not burn your mouth hot so if you like it spicy add more if you don't like spice at all leave it out the other ingredients give the soup tons of flavour anyway.

There is no vodka in this so I suppose it's a Virgin mary soup but feel free to add vodka if you like but remember to syn it!


Bloody Mary Soup


1 large onion (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 x 500g cartons passata
2 pints vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried chili flakes (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil


Spray a large saucepan with the spray oil and over a low heat fry the onion, garlic and celery sprinkle with a little salt as this helps the vegetables to soften but not brown which is what you want. When the vegetables are soft add all the other ingredients and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes to let the flavours blend together.

Blitz until smooth either with a stick blender right in the pan (which is what I use) or by blitzing in a blender or food processor but be careful as it's hot.

Bring back to the boil in the sauce pan once blended and taste if it needs salt and pepper and season to taste I usually add a tsp of pepper and just a little salt as some was added at the beginning.


Serves 6 generously and is syn free



Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Welsh lamb broth (Cawl) in slow cooker (Slimming World friendly)

  • This is a traditional Welsh stew known as Cawl (pronounced cowl) It's so easy to make in the slow cooker just put it all in and then when you get in from work it's ready. It's a really comforting warming dish and so simple just seasoned with salt and pepper although I do sometimes use vegetable stock instead of water to give it a bit more flavour. 
  • This dish is really good made the day before and reheated it seems to deepen the flavours and if you aren't a fan of lamb you could use beef if you prefer to but I really think you need to use lamb or mutton preferably Welsh of course!
NOTE !!

  I have a huge slow cooker so if yours is smaller then just halve the ingredients or you can  make it in a saucepan you just bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for a couple of hours. 



Welsh lamb broth (Cawl) 


2lb lean lamb (diced)
3 pints water (or use stock if you prefer)
2 large potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks) 
3 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
2 large leeks (washed well and sliced)
2 large onions (peeled and cut into chunks) 
1 swede (peeled and cut into chunks) 
salt and pepper 



Put all the prepared meat and vegetables into your slow cooker and add the water or stock . Season with a tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and then season to taste with more salt and pepper. 



Syn free 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Liver and bacon (Slimming World friendly)

I LOVE liver and bacon but I know its not everyones cup of tea (I made it for myself cos hubby was out at the football) . Its so savoury, rich and tasty it really is one of my very favourite comfort foods but a lot of recipes use quite a lot of oil for frying and with the flour for coating the liver the syns could really add up. This way you can make it with all the flavour and a tasty gravy too but low in syns.


Liver and bacon


1lb lambs liver (washed, trimmed and dried on kitchen paper)
2 large onions (sliced)
1/2 lb lean smoked bacon (all fat removed cut into strips)
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 pint beef stock (from a cube is fine)
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper


(You will need a plastic food bag for this too)


Turn the oven on to 180/350/gas4.


Spray a large  frying pan lightly with spray oil and cook the onions over a low heat until soft then add the bacon and cook for a few more minutes until bacon is cooked then place it all  into an oven proof casserole dish .

In the plastic food bag add the flour and a good grinding of black pepper and a 1/2 tsp salt and mix well, Add the slices of liver , secure the top of the bag (IMPORTANT if you dont want to redecorate your kitchen!!) and then shake the bag lightly until all the liver is coated with flour.

Spray the frying pan with more spray oil and heat and then shake off any excess flour and lay the slices of liver into the frying pan. Give the liver a couple of minutes over a medium heat until a crust has formed underneath the liver then flip the pieces over and cook for another minute on the other side and then place this into the casserole dish .

Add the beef stock to the frying pan and stir well to scrape up all the savoury bits from the bottom of the pan then pour over the liver, bacon and onions  in the casserole dish.

Stir everything well, cover the dish with a lid or a double layer of foil and then place in the oven for 30 minutes, Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes

Serve with lots of veg and some potatoes,

1 syn per portion and this recipe serves 4...

Enjoy xx

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Easy syn free chicken chow mein

Here is another super quick after work dinner, I really think the secret to making good tasty chinese food at home is to use the ginger and garlic base which is a pain to chop and crush/peel ginger and garlic but I love to use frozen ginger and frozen garlic. The jarred stuff is not so nice but frozen is so easy to use no mess or anything and makes a massive difference to the flavour and always on hand it's usually available at larger supermarkets. 

Bags of stir fry vegetables again save time and also when making a chicken chow mein  I buy chicken thighs and  and cut them into strips with scissors rather than buying packs of chicken stir fry strips which can be expensive.

Chinese takeaways are expensive and this can be made at home really quickly in fact by the time you could have phoned to order it you could be eating it : ) 

Chicken chow mein

500g chicken thighs all fat removed and cut into strips
1 pack stir fry mixed vegetables
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
(or use frozen like I do no need to defrost previously)
3 tbsp soy sauce
200g dried medium egg noodles.


Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, Drain well and then rinse in cold water, drain again and set to one side.

Heat a wok or large frying pan with a little low calorie spray oil until hot then add the chicken and stir fry for about 5 -10 minutes until cooked , Add the garlic and ginger and keep stir frying for another minute or two,

Add the stir fry vegetables and the soy sauce and stir fry for another  3-4 minutes then add the cooked noodles and stir fry everything mixed well together .

Serves 4 and is  Syn free on extra easy : ) 



Sunday, 10 September 2017

Old fashioned faggots (Slimming World friendly)

This is proper comfort food, They are easy to make and taste so good, Nothing better now the evenings are drawing in than a warming plate of faggots, peas and mash.

I know they aren't traditional in the sense that they don't have the fat layer on the top but even though lost the fat they have kept all the flavour. I used minced beef but you can use lean pork mince if you prefer.


Old fashioned faggots


500g extra lean minced beef
100g lambs liver
100g lean smoked bacon medallions
2 slices wholemeal bread (from a small loaf)
1 onion
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp each salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil


Place the bread in a food processor blitz to crumbs then take them out and set aside. Place the onion in the food processor and blitz until finely chopped then add the liver, bacon, herbs, salt and pepper and blitz and then add the breadcrumbs back in and blitz briefly to mix all together.

Place the minced beef in a bowl and then add the mixture from the food processor and mix very well. I do this by hand so you keep the texture of the minced beef.

Place large spoonfuls of the mixture into rough ball shapes so to make 12 faggots. (If you have one use an ice cream scoop that's what I use makes it a bit easier to shape)

Spray a rectangular baking dish or small roasting tin with the spray oil then place the faggots in the dish.

Bake on gas 4/ 180/350 for 1 hour until browned.

Faggots are 1/2 syn each on Slimming World

Enjoy!!





Friday, 8 September 2017

Kedgeree (Slimming World friendly)

Another quick family friendly dinner, Its a great one to prepare the night before and then assemble on the day. I often use frozen or boil in the bag rice . This recipe serves 4 people very generously.

Kedgeree

1lb smoked haddock (poached in water, drained and skin removed and flaked)
1lb cooked rice
1 chopped onion
spray oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8oz frozen peas
1/4 pint vegetable stock 
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 4 hardboiled eggs cut into quarters 

Spray wok or a large deep frying pan with the spray oil and add the onion and fry on a medium heat until soft but not coloured.

Add the rice, peas and stock and stir well for a few more minutes.

Now add the turmeric, caynenne and pepper and fish and stir gently until heated through.Taste for seasoning you probably won't need salt as the smoked fish is salty but taste to check. 

Place quarters of hardboiled eggs on top to serve.


(syn free on extra easy)



Friday, 25 August 2017

BBQ monkfish skewers (Slimming World friendly)

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a bit of a BBQ fanatic and even though I made these on the BBQ they do very well in the oven or under the grill. When I BBQ or even simply grilling at home one product I often use to add lots of flavour to my meals are BBQ rubs. They add tons of flavour to any simple meat or fish without loads of syns.

 You can make your own and there are lots of recipes online or there are loads on the market ready made my favourites are Quiet Waters Farm rubs  and also Angus & Oink   (Just click on the words to take you to their websites) Some do contain sugar as well as the spices so need to be counted as syns but as you use only a spoonful for a meal to serve four I usually just count 1 or 2 syns per portion. For this recipe I used the Quiet Waters Farms 'El Jefe' which is a Mexican style rub that I trialled for them and it was delicious on this recipe. It also means you don't have to worry about seasoning the skewers as it does it all for you.

I use metal skewers which are easy to buy in any supermarket you can use wooden if you like but soak them in water before hand so they don't burn. I love using monkfish on skewers as it's such a firm meaty fish but it is expensive, This recipe means a little goes a long way but you could of course use any firm fleshed fish like cod or even salmon if you prefer.

Skewers are also a great way of getting loads of speed vegetables in your meals. I used peppers and onion here but you can use courgette, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes or any vegetable that doesn't take long to cook. Fish cooks quickly on the BBQ and in the oven so it doesn't take long to make these I often prepare the veg in the morning to make later then you just put it on the skewers.


BBQ Monkfish skewers


500g monkfish (skinless and boneless cut into chunks)
2 peppers (any colour cut into chunks)
1-2  red onions (peeled and cut into quarters and separated into pieces)
1 tbsp BBQ rub (whichever you prefer)
Low calorie spray oil


Place the fish chunks into a large bowl and mix in the BBQ rub then thread the skewers starting with a piece of onion then just add the onions, fish and peppers until the skewer is full finish with a piece of onion. Spray the skewer with a little oil and then BBQ until the fish is cooked and brown vegetables are done this will only take about 10  minutes make sure you turn them halfway through and keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

They also cook just as well under the grill or if using the oven it would be a hot oven Gas 7/ 220/425.

Serve with rice and salad.

Makes 4-6 skewers and count 1 syn per portion.



Saturday, 12 August 2017

Beetroot ketchup (Slimming World friendly)

I have seen a few recipes for this around so thought I'd give it a try, I adapted the recipe so it is now sugar free and Slimming World friendly.

 It couldn't be easier to make I used vacuum packed cooked beetroot but of course if you can access fresh beetroot you can cook them beforehand and then make the ketchup but don't use pickled. It's also very good for children who love the purple colour, I try to avoid aspartame as I don't think it's very good for you so I use stevia or splenda for cooking. The onion powder can be bought in most supermarkets it's with the spices.


Beetroot Ketchup

500g cooked beetroot (sliced)
250ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp sweetener (see above)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper



Place everything in a saucepan and bring to the boil, Simmer for 30 minutes and leave to cool slightly. Simply blend in a food processor until smooth. If it's too thick just add a little water until it's the consistency you want.

Keeps for a few weeks in the fridge.

Syn free



Friday, 4 August 2017

Lamb souvlaki (Slimming World friendly)

Nothing beats a kebab and this easy recipe is really tasty and you won't miss the real thing, As long as you use lean lamb leg meat it cooks quickly over the BBQ or grill or even in the oven. Lamb shoulder takes longer so just make sure you buy the right cut of lamb.

This isn't too spicy so it's very family friendly too no one would guess it was Slimming World friendly. At the time of writing you can have a weight watchers white low fat wrap as a healthy extra to serve with this but things change so please check.

If you don't like lamb feel free to use chicken I find thigh meat works better but you can use breast if you prefer.

I served this with a traditional yogurt sauce called tzatziki (recipe below) and a simple cherry tomato and red onion salad.


Lamb Souvlaki

1lb lean diced lamb leg meat
Juice of 1 lemon (or a tbsp from a bottle)
2 cloves garlic (crushed or use garlic paste)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil


Simply place the lamb, lemon, garlic and oregano into a large bowl and mix together very well , Add a few sprays of oil and  the salt and pepper and mix again. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

It's best to cook these on metal or wooden skewers but if you don't have these you can grill them on a grill pan so just thread the lamb onto skewers (if using) spray with a little more oil and place on a grill pan and cook under a hot grill until cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. The timings will vary but takes about 15-25 minutes turning them every now and then. Of course the best place to cook these is over a BBQ but we don't always have the weather for that!!

It's ok if the meat is slightly underdone it is safe to eat lamb slightly pink but if you prefer well done just take a little piece off the end to check if cooked through.

This is the sauce I served with the kebabs.

Tzatziki

250g fat free natural greek yogurt
1 large cucumber (seeds removed and grated)
1-2 tsp salt

Simply mix together and taste if it needs anymore salt.


All syn free


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Cheesy bacon stuffed potato skins (Slimming World friendly)

These are a really delicious side dish, Makes a change from ordinary baked potatoes and are really easy to make.

I've had similar in restaurants but they are loaded with sour cream which makes them definitely NOT Slimming World friendly! This version gives you all the flavour but none of the fat. If you want them even more cheesy you could even melt your healthy extra cheese over the top.


Cheesy bacon stuffed potato skins

2 large baking potatoes
1/2  a 250g tub Arla garlic and herb quark (or use plain and add some garlic and herbs to it )
4 smoked bacon medallions (cooked and cut into small pieces)
chopped chives or green from spring onions.
low calorie spray oil.
salt and pepper


Wash the potato and while damp sprinkle with lots of salt to help it get a nice crispy skin then cut into it just a little way all around the outside (this helps it break evenly in half after cooking. )

Bake at gas 6/200/400 for about an hour until when lightly squeezed the potato is soft and the skin is crispy them remove from the oven but don't turn the oven off you will need it again in a minute.

Cut in half along where you cut into the potato and using a spoon scrape all the cooked potato into a shallow dish. Add the quark and mash very well with a fork it doesnt have to be smooth some lumps are ok and add texture. Add some salt and pepper and mix again then taste if it needs more seasoning. Mix in the bacon and half of the chives or spring onion greens then refill the potato skins.

Spray the tops with a little spray oil then place back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until the tops are slightly browned.

Sprinkle with the rest of the chives or spring onions.

Serves 2-4 and are syn free





Saturday, 8 July 2017

Slow cooker roast chicken (Slimming World friendly)

I know this is not an original idea and is scarcely a recipe but it is a great way to cook a chicken. My son Fred first showed me how to do this so thanks Fred!

By cooking the chicken in the slow cooker its stays really juicy and tender and as on Slimming World you wouldn't eat the skin it really doesnt matter that the skin isn't crispy. I also love the fact I can get in from work and it's all done.

I used a little spice mix I made up on this chicken but you can just use salt and pepper if you prefer,


Slow cooker roast chicken

1 large chicken (free range if possible )
salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil

Spice Mix (if liked)

1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix together well


Place some scrunched up foil in the bottom of the slow cooker so the chicken isn't sitting in all the fat and juices and place the chicken on top.

Spray lightly with oil and season well with salt and pepper and the spice mix (if used).

Cook on 'low' for 8 hours , If you want to make the skin crispy after cooking (for someone not on SW!) then just place it in a roasting tin and put in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes.

Syn free (if skin removed)


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Thai style stir fry (Slimming World friendly)

I make this recipe with lean turkey mince and it's so full of flavour and really quick and easy to cook. You could use lean minced beef or minced pork if you prefer and by using mince it makes this very economical too.

As usual when making anything like this the ginger and garlic base is very important to get the best flavours you can use fresh but I tend to buy it frozen I get it from larger supermarkets or ethnic stores. The fish sauce is available in most supermarkets too you only need a very small amount.

Using pre prepared bags of fresh stir fry vegetables means this meal can be ready in less than 30 minutes so it makes a great quick after work dinner. I served it with noodles but you can serve with rice if you prefer.


Thai style stir fry


500g lean turkey mince
1 bag fresh prepared stir fry vegetables
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp chili flakes
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
tbsp lime juice
low calorie spray oil


Spray a large frying pan or wok with the oil and add the turkey mince, Stir fry over a high heat fro about 5-10 minutes until the mince is browned and cooked through keep stirring it all the time to break up any lumps.

Add the garlic,ginger and chili and stir fry for a few more minutes. Add the stir fry vegetables and continue to stir fry until the vegetables just start to wilt a little. Add the soy sauce, lime juice and fish sauce and finally stir fry for a few more minutes.

Serves 4 and is syn free


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Moroccan lamb (Slimming World friendly)

I am so lucky to have a wonderful butchers near where I work and all their meat is from local farms. Find them here ... http://cigmynyddcymru.co.uk/ and so when I was asked to cook at a food festival I knew I wanted to make something using their local lamb.

 I love the Moroccan flavours in this dish and it's really easy to make, I served it with some couscous with pomegranate seeds and a tomato and red onion salad. It went down really well with my family and I'm hoping everyone at the food festival will love it too.

The harissa paste is easily available in most supermarkets I bought mine in ASDA it gives a little heat don't worry it's not very hot just a nice warmth. The apricot jam might sound like an odd ingredient but it's a personal thing I'm not keen on fruit in savoury meals so by using the jam it just adds the flavour without the pieces of fruit but feel free to add chopped apricots if you prefer.


The food festival is in Torfaen (Big Pit) in South Wales on Sunday 18th June the link is here  https://museum.wales/bigpit/whatson/9485/Fathers-Day-FEASTival-/
if you are local and free on Sunday pay me a visit !


Moroccan Lamb 

1 kg lean diced lamb
2 onions (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp ginger paste (grated fresh ginger or from a jar)
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
3/4 pint vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1 tbsp apricot jam
salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil (or use rapeseed oil and syn it if you prefer)


Place a large deep frying pan or large saucepan over a medium/high heat and spray with oil. Add the onions and fry for a few minutes until soft and slightly browned then add the lamb and the ginger and garlic. Cook until the lamb is coloured slightly and not pink anymore.

Add the harissa paste. stir well and cook for five minutes making sure everything is coated with the paste. Add the stock, tomatoes and tomato puree. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced down and thicker, Add 2 tsp salt and a tsp of pepper, stir well and taste you might need a little more seasoning. Stir in the tbsp of apricot jam and add the drained chickpeas. Stir well again and just cook for another five minutes.


Serves 4 at 2 syns per portion.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

One pot cheesy sausage macaroni

This recipe is so easy and simple to make, I have made other one pot pasta dishes before and they have always turned out well but this is the winner. The secret to this one is the HECK smoky paprika sausages by using them you don't need to add any other seasonings not even salt and pepper unless you want to.

If you can't get the HECK sausages then you can use other sausages and just add 1 tsp smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste.


One pot cheesy sausage macaroni 


1 pack HECK smoky paprika sausages (skins removed)
1 carton (400g) passata
1 pint beef stock (from a cube is fine )
250g dry macaroni
2 red peppers (diced)
200g half fat grated mature cheddar
low fat spray oil


Spray a large saucepan with spray oil and put the sausages in. Over a medium heat stir the sausages and break them up into small pieces and cook until browned you can add a little water if it starts to stick.

When the sausages are slightly browned add the peppers and fry for another two minutes. Next add the passata, beef stock and macaroni. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, Put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. Taste to check if the pasta is cooked it will still be a little firm but thats ok. Remove from the heat, take off the lid and stir in the grated cheese. Mix very well and then replace the lid and leave to stand off the heat for five minutes.



Serves 4 using cheese as your healthy extra it's 1 syn per portion.



Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mediterranean roasted vegetables (Slimming World friendly)

I love roasted vegetables in the Summer they are perfect when you are fed up of salad and a great way to get more vegetables in your diet. You can use pretty much anything you fancy but I always make sure there are onions and tomatoes in there somewhere. It's especially good if you know anyone who grows their own vegetables as you can happily throw in any vegetables they have a glut of. You can vary the vegetables according to what you like.

It's also great for using up bits and pieces of vegetables you have left in the salad drawer tomatoes that have gone a bit soft, peppers that have started to go brown etc of course you cut off any manky bits but as they roast they go lovely and sweet.

I made these in the pictures when I was on holiday in Spain as I was lucky enough to buy loads of lovely vegetables in the local markets. I served them with a simply roast chicken and a jacket potato.


Mediterranean roasted vegetables


1 aubergine
1 courgette
1 red onion
4-6 tomatoes
2 peppers
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil


Pre heat your oven to Gas 6 /200/400

Spray a roasting tin or large shallow dish with the spray oil, Chop all the vegetables in evenly sized pieces and place in the dish.
Add the crushed garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix everything together really well and spray again with the oil.

Place in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes stirring around halfway through until the vegetables are soft and browned.


Syn free





Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Patatas Bravas (Slimming World friendly)

Hola! Back from my lovely holiday in Spain so thought I'd try cooking some Spanish inspired recipes and make them Slimming World friendly.

I was lucky enough to be staying in a villa while we were away and so got to buy the most gorgeous fruit and veg from the local markets, This recipe although it uses tinned tomatoes tastes of sunshine  and Spain to me. I served it with a side salad and a grilled chicken breast but it would also be good as a side dish with a steak or even some sausages (the HECK smoky paprika ones would be tasty).

It's very easy to make, Hope you enjoy it.


Patatas Bravas


500g new potatoes (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (depends how spicy you like it)
low calorie spray oil


Preheat the oven to Gas 7/ 220/425 then place the cubed potatoes on a roasting tin and spray with the oil and place in the oven for 45 minutes until roasted turning them over halfway through and spraying again if necessary.

While the potatoes are roasting take a frying pan and spray with oil and add the chopped onion, Cook gently over a lowish heat until the onion is soft. Add the tin of tomatoes, chili flakes, salt and paprika and stir well. Simmer over a low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced and is thick.

Take the potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle lightly with salt. Pour the sauce into a dish and place the potatoes on top.


Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 hungry people :)


Syn free


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Chip shop style curry sauce (Slimming World friendly)

I must admit to loving a bit of chip shop curry sauce not the most elegant of dinners but it hits the spot when you need a bit of comfort food. I have experimented to make this sauce and I think this is pretty close to the original. If you want the colour to be more yellow you can add a 1/2 tsp turmeric when you add the curry powder.


Chip shop style curry sauce


1 small onion (grated)
1 tbsp mild or medium curry powder
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 pint vegetable or chicken stock
 2 tbsp fat free greek yogurt
1 -2 tsp sweetener (I use stevia)
low calorie spray oil
salt


Spray a small saucepan with the spray oil and add the grated onion, Sprinkle over 1/2 tsp salt and fry over a low heat for a few minutes until the onion is soft but not brown (you might need to add a little water too).

Add the curry powder and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Place the cornflour in a small dish and add a little water and stir well then add to the saucepan and whisk in well. Simmer for five minutes whisking all the time until the sauce has thickened.

Add 1 tsp of sweetener and taste to see if you need more. Take off the heat and whisk in the yogurt then taste again it might need a little salt.


Makes about 1/2 pint and is 1 syn for the whole lot.








Thursday, 4 May 2017

Creamy salmon pasta

I made this recipe after having some leftover cooked salmon and wanted to make something substantial and tasty for dinner. I used some baby asparagus but you could just use frozen peas or green beans whatever you fancy. I used tagliatelle but you can use whatever pasta you like. It's quite a flexible recipe!

Please remember to keep back half a mug of the water you cooked the pasta in as it this that helps to thicken the sauce.

You can have this meal ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish so it's a great after work dinner.


Creamy salmon pasta


1-2 cooked salmon fillets
1/2 pack baby asparagus (or any other spring veg or 1/2 cup frozen peas)
250g tagliatelle
1 tub quark
2 large free range eggs
chopped chives (if liked)
low cal spray oil
salt and pepper


 Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water as per instructions on the pack, While it's cooking break up the salmon into bite sized pieces. Place the asparagus into a frying pan with a little low calorie spray oil and cook quickly for a couple of minutes and set aside. If using frozen vegetables like peas just cook them briefly for a few minutes.

Place the quark and eggs in a large jug and whisk together very well. Add 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt and whisk well again.

Once the pasta is cooked drain into a colander (but remember to keep back half a mug of the water.)

Immediately put the drained pasta back into the pan and add the egg mixture and reserved pasta water and mix everything very well. It might look too runny at first but keep mixing and in a minute or so it will thicken up.

Gently mix in the salmon and asparagus, Sprinkle over the chopped chives onto each portion and serve.

Serves 4 and is syn free


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Smoky Paprika Scotch Egg (Slimming World friendly)

 I had the idea to make these as I love the 'Heck' smoky paprika sausages and thought they would make a lovely Scotch Egg. I don't use anything to replace the breadcrumb coating as I don't think you really need it. If you really want it you can use your bread healthy extra to make some breadcrumbs.

Smoky Paprika Scotch Egg

1 pack Heck smoky paprika sausages
5 eggs (large free range)
low calorie spray oil


Place the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil slowly (I add 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda to the water as it helps the shells come off but you don't have to) Boil for 5 minutes so the yolk is only just cooked then run them under cold water until cool then remove the shells.

Take the skins off the sausages by cutting the skin down the side of the sausage and remove and discard the skins.

Take two of the sausages and squish them together .. This is the fun part :)

Place the hardboiled egg in the middle and mould the sausagemeat around the egg until it is covered. Continue until you have done them all then place them in a roasting tin lined with foil (makes it easier to clean afterwards) Spray lightly with oil.

Bake at Gas 6 /200/ 400 for 30 minutes

Makes 5 and they are 1/2 syn each.




Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Slow cooker Chinese beef and broccoli (Slimming World friendly)

This is a really easy recipe just throw in the slow cooker and leave all day then a few bits to do when it's nearly cooked. It went down really well with my family, Hope you like it :)

Slow cooker Chinese beef and broccoli


750g lean diced beef
1 large onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
350ml beef stock (from a cube is fine)
100ml soy sauce
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder (if liked)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 head of broccoli (cut up into florets)
1 tsp sesame seeds


Place the beef, onion, garlic, stock , 5 spice and 75ml of the soy sauce into a slow cooker. Mix well and cook on high for 4 hours or low for up to 6-8 hours.

Take off the lid then put in the broccoli and push gently down into the sauce,  Pop the lid back on and leave for another half hour or so until the broccoli is tender.

Mix the cornflour with a little cold water mix well and stir into the sauce and leave for another 10 minutes to bubble away until the sauce is thickened then add the last 25ml of soy sauce and serve with each portion sprinkled with a few sesame seeds.

Serves 4 at 1 syn per portion




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Paprika Pork Tenderloin 




Pork tenderloin is a delicious cut of meat but can be a little dry sometimes, This marinade even though its more like a dry spice mix helps to make the meat really tasty and juicy. I used a hot paprika so it was a bit spicy but you could use smoked or sweet paprika if you prefer.

This is a very quick after work dinner if you put the meat into marinade before you go to work but take it out of the fridge for half an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.

Marinaded paprika pork tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (trim off any excess fat and sinew)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
low calorie spray oil


Get a large strong plastic food bag and place the pork in it with all the dry ingredients and mix it all together very well until you can see the meat is well coated. Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight if you prefer.

Take the bag out of the fridge for a half an hour before cooking to allow the meat to come up to room temperature. Remove the meat from the bag and place the meat on a foil covered tray , Spray lightly with spray oil and roast in the oven at gas 6 /200/400 for 30 minutes.

Take out of the oven and cover with foil and leave the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes then slice and serve.

I served this over couscous with some roasted vegetables.

Syn free : )

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Chicken pie (Slimming World friendly)

Now this not syn free but its not too bad if you have a fancy for a bit of pastry this is for you. I made this when I had some leftover chicken although I always thought you could never have pastry on Slimming World this worked out ok not syn free but not too bad. You could also add some ham or mushrooms or some vegetables too.


I liked that I made these for the family and no one thought it was a 'Slimming' meal, Tasty and satisfying and felt a bit naughty ...



Chicken Pie

100g jus-rol light puff pastry
12oz leftover cooked chicken
1/2 pint skimmed milk
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Place the milk in a saucepan and add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk together well. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil whisking all the time until the sauce has thickened. Leave to cool.

When cooled add the chicken and then divide between four individual pie dishes .

Weigh the pastry and divide into four pieces then roll out. Wet the edge of the pie dishes with a little water and place each rolled out piece of pastry over each dish.

Brush with the beaten egg then bake in a pre heated oven gas 6/200/400 for 20-30 minutes until the tops are browned and golden.


6 syns per pie



Saturday, 28 January 2017

General Tso chicken (Slimming World friendly)

It's Chinese New Year! I saw this recipe a little while ago on 'Saturday Kitchen' and thought I could adapt it slightly to make it Slimming World friendly. It's easy to make and only a few syns so a lot less than a takeaway and I make no claims for it's authenticity but I know my family really enjoyed it and I hope you do too.

General Tso Chicken

8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts (all skin and fat removed) cut into chunks
1 tbsp cornflour
1 large onion (cut in chunks)
2 red peppers (cut into chunks)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp hot chili sauce
2 tsp honey

1 tbsp sesame seeds

spray oil

  • Place the cornflour, salt and pepper in a large food safe plastic bag and add the chicken chunks , Seal the bag and give it a good shake so the chicken is coated with the cornflour. 
  • Spray a wok or large frying pan with spray oil,take out the chicken chunks and place in the wok then fry for a 5-10 minutes until cooked through (you might need to spray some more oil on) then remove from the wok and put to one side. 
Mix the soy sauce, tomato puree, rice vinegar, hot chili sauce and honey in a small bowl and whisk together well. 

Spray the wok again and over a high heat fry the onions, peppers, chili flakes and garlic until just starting to soften. Add the chicken and stir fry for a few more minutes then add the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is thicker.

I served it over noodles with some stir fried vegetables and sprinkled each portion with 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. 

Serves 4 and is 1 1/2 syns per portion 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Beef hotpot (Slimming World friendly)

This cold weather I love to make real comfort food and make the most of my slow cooker as well. This recipe is great as you throw almost all the ingredients apart from the topping in the slow cooker and let it get on with it. I just used carrots and onions this time with the beef but you can use root vegetables like swede and parnsip in it too if you like them and I serve it with other veg so you get your 1/3 superfree . Its a good one to cook on low in the slow cooker while at work then when you come in just have to put the topping on and put in the oven.


Beef Hotpot

1 kg lean braising steak (cubed)
1 large onion (chopped) 
3 large carrots (sliced)
1/2 pint beef stock
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large potatoes (sliced very thinly) 
spray oil


Put the steak, onions, carrots, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours until steak is tender. Take the lid off and turn it up to high for the last half hour or so (helps it to thicken up)  Taste for seasoning it may need more salt and pepper.

Cook the sliced potatoes in boiling salted water just for a couple of minutes then drain well . Put the beef mixture into a casserole dish and top with overlapping slices of the potato, spray lightly with oil sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place in the oven at gas 5/375/190 for about an hour until potatoes are cooked and browned on the top. Its a good idea to place the dish on a baking sheet you can see from the pic the gravy sometimes bubbles up over the top of the dish during cooking and will save your oven :  )



Serves 6 with extra vegetables and is syn free on extra easy ...enjoy x


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Sausage and potato tray bake (Slimming World friendly)

This came about when I was going to cook sausages and potato wedges for dinner and then thought might fry some onions to go with it and was thinking of all the pans then thought why not put in all in together?

I like to use ASDA extra special light and lean sausages they are 1/2 syn each but feel free to use Slimming World sausages which are syn free or whatever low syn sausages you prefer. . I also added peppers and mushrooms for some speed but next time might put some cherry tomatoes in too it was seasoned simply with just some smoky paprika and salt and pepper.

Best of all you just put it all in together and put in the oven and leave it to get on with it just giving it a stir around every now and then.

Very simple and very tasty :)




Sausage and potato tray bake

8 sausages (whatever syn free or low syn sausages you prefer)
1 kg potatoes (cut into wedges)
1 large onion (sliced)
2 or 3 peppers (cut into chunks)
8oz mushrooms (sliced)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil


Place everything in a roasting tin spray with some of the oil and mix well, Place in a hot oven Gas 7/ 220/425 for about 45 minutes just stir a couple of times while cooking  until the sausages and potatoes are brown and the vegetables are soft.


Serves 4


syns depend on sausages used xx