Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Baked Mackerel with Ginger and Spring Onion

At very short notice I discovered that I was cooking dinner for a friend so I had a quick raid of the freezer and garden and came up with this. The original recipe is for sea bass but the mackerel worked just as well and I got that dose of oily fish! I served it with sticky rice and steamed green veg from the garden.

Baked Mackerel with Ginger and Spring Onion (adapted from Itsu The Cookbook)
(Serves 2)

2 mackerel fillets
2 spring onions, sliced
2cm fresh root ginger, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut two A4 sized sheets of foil and lay a mackerel fillet on each one. Scatter over the spring onions, ginger and pepper, then fold up the foil, scrunching the edges together but leaving a small gap in the top of each parcel. Pour the soy sauce into the gap, then seal the parcels completely.

Bake for 8-10 mins, then carefully unwrap the parcels and transfer the fish to plates, pouring the sauce over the top. Serve with rice and steamed veg.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ham and Asparagus Rolls with Potato Salad

This was a lovely and really simple salad. I was worried that with all the soft cheese involved it would taste a bit , well, cheesy! But it didn't, I think the lettuce underneath helped and the whole thing was delicious, you wouldn't guess it was "diet" food!

Ham and Asparagus Rolls with Potato Salad (from Cooking the WeightWatchers Way)
(Serves 2)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g new potatoes, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp low fat plain yoghurt
25g low fat soft cheese
2 spring onions, chopped finely
salt and pepper

6 asparagus spears,
100g low fat soft cheese
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp finely chopped chives
6 slices ham
black pepper

Put the potatoes in a pan of water and bring to the boil, cook for 5-8 mins until just tender. Drain, run under the cold tap and leave to cool.

Mix together the yoghurt and soft cheese then stir in the spring onions. Add the potatoes, season and mix together gently.

Cook the asparagus in simmer water for 2-3 mins. Put under the cold tap and then drain well.

Meanwhile, mix together the soft cheese, mustard and chives. Lay the slices of ham on a work surface. Spread an equal amount of the cheese mixture along one side of each piece of ham, then top with an asparagus spear. Season with black pepper, then roll up tightly. Repeat. Serve the ham rolls on top of the potato salad.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday

I've had a really lovely weekend, I went to Borough Market on Saturday morning and had a bit of a potter. I spent my Neil's Yard Dairy voucher and got 6 different cheese, all of which were yummy. I cooked dinner for my parents, sister and cousin on Saturday night. I made a delicious mushroom and taleggio macaroni cheese followed by a blackberry and apple pudding. Then on Sunday I made a peg bag!

This week is another semi quiet one. I'm going to the theatre twice, once to see Breeders at the St James Theatre and once to see Fully Committed. Pilates on Thursday and then on Sunday I'm going to the cake and bake show, I'm really excited about that especially as we're doing a patisserie workshop in the afternoon!

Currently reading: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

Salami Storecupboard Salad (A Salad For All Seasons)

Crab, Shiitake Mushroom and Sweetcorn Salad (Perfectly Tossed Salad)
Penne with Peppers, Anchovies and Pine Nuts

Out before the theatre

Snail Quiche and Salad
Veggie Burger

Salmon, Beetroot Barley Salad (Grains)


Faggots with Onion Gravy with Mash and Veg

Out at the Cake and Bake Show
Carrot, Elderflower and Sweetcorn Soup with a scone (Soup For All Seasons)

Fig and Goat's Cheese Pizza

This was a deceptively simple pizza to make, especially for the flavours that you get at the end. One of my friends gave me some figs from her garden, the last of the crop and I ate most of them just as they were and made pizza out of a couple! This was a truly delicious pizza, I was expecting it to be dry without any sauce but it wasn't at all. The crust was lovely and crunchy.

Fig, Goat's Cheese and Parma Ham Pizza
(from The Telegraph)
(Serves 2-4)

1 packet pizza dough mix
1 tbsp oil
4 onions, halved and very finely sliced
8 small figs, halved
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a little caster sugar for sprinkling
2-4 slices Parma ham
125g (4½oz) goat’s cheese, broken into chunks
a little extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Make up the pizza dough according to packet instructions.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Fry over a medium heat for about 7 mins, then add a couple of tbsp of water, season, cover the pan, turn down the heat and cook for about 10 mins. You want the onions to be soft and golden. If the mixture is quite “wet” at the end of this time, turn up the heat (with the lid off) to cook off the excess moisture. Set the onions aside.

A good half an hour before you want to cook the pizza, preheat the oven to 230°C, as hot as you can get it. Place a baking-sheet or pizza stone into the oven to heat.

Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead it a little, then roll it into a circle or a rough square, depending on whether you are using a pizza stone or a baking-sheet. It doesn’t have to be neat. It should be about 30-32cm across.

Carefully take the hot baking-sheet or stone out of the oven and flour it. Put the pizza dough on to it and, working quickly, top with the onions and the halved figs, leaving a 3cm edge all the way around the pizza. 

Spoon a little balsamic vinegar on top of each fig half and sprinkle a bit of sugar on each as well. Dot the chunks of goat’s cheese among the figs and rip over the Parma ham. Drizzle the goat’s cheese with a little olive oil. Grind some pepper over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 mins. The pizza should be golden and the figs slightly caramelised in patches. Serve.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Chicken Couscous Salad

I am trying to use up a punnet of peaches in different ways, this salad was really tasty and I didn't really notice the sweetness of the peaches. I used Israeli couscous but the original was made with normal couscous. I loved all the different elements in this salad, it worked really well together.

Chicken Couscous Salad (from WeightWatchers Sensationally Seasonal)
(Serves 2)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

100g Israeli couscous
grated zest and juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 peach, stoned and chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 spring onions, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 chicken breast, sliced into bite size pieces
salt and pepper

Being a pan of water to the boil, add the couscous and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and run under the cold tap, drain well.

Stir in the lemon juice and zest, coriander, peach, tomatoes, spring onions and pepper and season. Stir in the chicken and transfer to a lunchbox or serve.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Chocolate Krispie Marshmallow Sandwich

I've had a packet of Rice Krispies sat on my side for ages and I was fed up of looking at them. I didn't want to make just ordinary Rice Krispie cakes, I thought I'd add an element of marshmallow to the mix! These were really yummy and the addition of dark chocolate meant that they weren't ridiculously sweet.

Chocolate Krispie Marshmallow Sandwich
(Makes many)

200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
100g butter
8 tbsp golden syrup
270g rice krispies
1 jar marshmallow fluff

Line a 23cm x 23cm pan with greaseproof paper.

Bring half a pan of water to the boil and put a bowl over the top, ensuring that the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Put half the chocolate, butter and golden syrup into the bowl and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and add half the Rice Krispies. Stir well until combined.

Spread half the krispie mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan. Put into the fridge, whilst you make more of the krispie mixture.

Melt the rest of the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in the same bowl over a pan of water. Once again, take off the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.

Take the pan out of the fridge and spread the marshmallow fluff over the slightly set krispie mixture. Then top with the second bowl of krispie mixture to make a marshmallow sandwich

Friday, 26 September 2014

Allotment Frittata

This is my version of the allotment fritatta from one of my WeightWatchers cookbooks. The original uses potatoes and less eggs. This was a bit huge and filling but it's a bit difficult to do a one egg fritatta, but I hope that you remember to add the pasta to the pan before the eggs unlike me, who stared at the nicely drained pasta, went argh! and shoved it on top before grilling! Ad well delicious but filling and you can't really go wrong with all that green veg!

Allotment Frittata (adapted from Cooking the WeightWatchers Way)
(Serves 1-2)

cooking spray
1/4 onion, chopped
1 small courgettes, sliced
25-30g dried pasta shapes
75g frozen peas
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 eggs
1 tbsp skimmed milk
15g cheddar, grated
black pepper

Preheat the grill.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain.

Heat a small frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Add the onions and courgette and cook for 4-5 mins, stirring often. Add the peas and spinach and cook for 2-3 more mins to wilt the spinach.

Beat the eggs and milk together, season with black pepper. Add the pasta to the veg pan, then pour into the frying pan. Cook over a medium low heat for 4-5 mins to set the base, then sprinkle with the cheddar. Transfer to the grill for 3-5 mins to set the surface. Remove and serve with a green salad.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Miso Roast Salmon

I saw the beautiful picture of this in the cookbook and knew that I had to make it. It was very tasty with lovely Asian style flavours. I went a bit overheard with the sesame seeds! The original recipe used edamame beans but I swapped them out for mangetout. I served it with 100g new potatoes for an extra 2 ProPoints.

Miso Roast Salmon (WeightWatchers Cooking for One)
(Serves 1)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 tbsp miso paste
2 tsp mirin
pinch sugar
1 salmon fillet
cooking spray
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp soy sauce

For the salad
1/2 cucumber
1 tsp rice vinegar
pinch sugar
7-8 mangetout

Mix together the miso paste, mirin and sugar. Put the salmon fillet on a plate and spread the paste over the top. Put in the fridge for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Spray a non stick tray with cooking spray. Using kitchen roll, wipe off the marinade. Transfer the fish to the baking tray, skin side downs cook for 12-15 mins until th fish is golden.

Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds and then make the salad. Use a veg peeler, shave the cucumber into long thin ribbons. Whisk together the vinegar and sugar. Toss with the cucumber and mange tout then transfer to a plate. Serve with the salmon sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of soy sauce.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Orzo Pasta and Ham Salad

This was a new pasta salad for me, really simple but really effective. It didn't taste WeightWatchersish at all and is definitely one to make again and again.

Orzo Pasta and Ham Salad (from Cooking the WeightWatchers Way)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

225g dried orzo pasta
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
6 spring onions, chopped finely
200g ham, chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
black pepper

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo according to packet instructions. 

Meanwhile, put the oil and vinegar into a large bowl and add the tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions, stirring gently to mix.

Drain the cooked pasta and run under the cold tap. Drain again thoroughly and add it to the salad bowl with the  ham and parsley and stir everything together. Season with black pepper and pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tuna with Spring Veg Sauté

I haven't had fresh tuna in a long time, but it was on offer so I bought some. It was fresh tasting with all the summer veg, all of which was picked from my garden. It could be served on a bed of rice for extra ProPoints.

Tuna with Spring Veg Sauté (from WeightWatchers Weekdays)
(Serves 4)
(5 WW ProPoints per serving)

4 tuna steaks
3 tbsp soy sauce
juice 1 lemon
cooking spray
3 shallots, diced
150g green beans, trimmed
100g baby carrots, halved lengthways
50g baby courgettes, halved lengthways 
50g cherry tomatoes
150g veg stock
salt and pepper

Mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice, ground ginger and black pepper in a bowl, add the tuna steaks, turn the them over and over in the marinade to coat. Cover and leave to marinate for 10-15 mins.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan, spray with cooking spray and add the veg, except the tomatoes. Stir fry for 5-6 mins until they start to brown.

Add the tomatoes and pour over the veg stock. Turn up the heat so that the stock is bubbling, season  and cook for 6-8 mins, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and spray with cooking spray and cook the tuna for 3-4 mins on each side.

Serve the tuna on top of the bed of veg with a little of the sauce poured over the top.