Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Salt and Pepper Squid

I am eating a lot more fish now than I was previously, not really sure why, I think its the summer weather which makes me want lighter foods. Anyway I had some squid left over from our trip to Borough Market, and one of my favourite dishes in a Chinese restaurant is Salt and Pepper Squid. However, this is usually deep fried and I wanted a healthier version. This delicious and simple recipe ticked all the boxes. Instead of drizzling over sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce, I had some mango and chilli salad dressing so I doused it in that instead.

Salt and Pepper Squid (from Good Food Magazine July 2005)
(Serves 4)
(3WW ProPoints per serving)

240g squid
2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
little sesame oil, to serve
few coriander sprigs, to serve
sweet chilli sauce, to serve

Ask the fishmonger to clean the squid; little ones often come ready-cleaned. Using kitchen scissors, cut open the body and open out. Wash well, then pat dry. If you have a large squid, cut the body into four portions, roughly square. Small squid can just be opened up.

Using the tip of a very sharp knife, score the top in a neat criss-cross. Brush with oil and set aside while you heat the barbecue or griddle until ready to cook.

Mix together the salt, Chinese five-spice and pepper. Sprinkle on both sides of the squid just before cooking, according to taste. You may not need it all. Heat the griddle pan to hot and cook about 1 min each side, until it starts to curl. Remove with tongs to a serving plate and drizzle with a little sesame oil. To serve, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with small bowls of sweet chilli sauce to dip into.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Lunchbox Chicken Curry Pasta

I had a lovely weekend in the sun, I finally got all of my plants in the garden and fingers crossed I'll have a lovely crop of veg in the summer! I also baked bread, made soup and did a whole host of other things! Very busy but productive!

I also need to point out that although I am posting mostly WeightWatchers recipes or at least skinny recipes at the moment, clearly if you want to recreate them, you don't have to follow all the fat free rubbish. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be if I didn't have to! But I am slowly watching the weight come off, which is a relief! It's no fun having the nurse, back in April, tell me I am now rather a long way out of a healthy BMI, gave me a bit of a shock, so I was determined to do something about it and I am getting there.

This pasta salad was lovely and spicy, and although I don't normally like raw peppers, this was ok.

Lunchbox Chicken Curry Pasta (from WeightWatchers)
(Serves 4)
(5 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g virtually fat free plain yoghurt
1 tbsp curry powder
300g cooked pasta
5 sprays cooking spray
250g skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped
1 medium pepper, deseeded and chopped
1/4 cucumber, chopped
4 medium spring onions, finely sliced
1 pinch salt
1/8 teaspoons ground black pepper

Cook the chicken breast in a frying pan with the low fat cooking spray.

Put the yogurt into a bowl and stir in the curry powder.

Add the pasta, chicken, pepper, cucumber and spring onions to the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pack a portion in your lunch box.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Squid and Chorizo Pasta

I have finally been able to get out in the garden and put all my veg in! My mum came down earlier this week and brought all the seedlings for the garden with her. This year I am growing, tomatoes (plum, yellow, black cherry, black russian), sweetcorn, broad beans, french beans, spinach, swiss chard, strawberries, tomatillo, lettuce, spring onions, prickly cucumbers, pak choi, purple carrots, aubergines, peppers, chillis, sea kale, sorrel, potatoes, courgettes, spaghetti squash and probably more that I've forgotten, so come summer I should have a veritable feast of veg! One of my fruit trees flowered too so maybe I'll have some fruit too! It is a bit of a pig watering it all though as I am in a hosepipe ban area and have to lug watering cans up and down the garden! It'll be worth it in the end though!

This pasta used nothing home grown but was delicious nonetheless, the chorizo and squid work really well together.

Squid and Chorizo Pasta (from WeightWatchers Complete Cook Book)
(Serves 2)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

125g dried pasta
60g sliced chorizo
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
125g sliced squid, rinsed
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and diced
2 tomatoes, chopped roughly
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped parsley

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

Meanwhile, heat a non stick frying pan, add the chorizo and pepper and fry for 5 mins over a high heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown at the edges.

Add the squid and chilli to the pan and cook for 1 min before adding the tomatoes, lemon zest and 4 tbsp of the pasta water. Cook for 2 mins more or until the squid is cooked through but still tender.

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and the parsley. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Stir-fried Fish with Dill and Rice Noodles

I caanot tell you how much I loved this dish, So good! I love monkfish anyway but this was delicious. This was another piece of the monkfish part of which we used for the Monkfish and Saffron Risotto a while ago. I have one more piece left, I will have to find something extra special to do with it as the first two dishes were amazing. Skinny Meals in Heels is also my new favourite cookbook, there are so many fantastic recipes in it that I want to try out! I added some mangetout to the dish, to add some veggies.

Stir-fried Fish with Dill and Rice Noodles (from Skinny Meals in Heels - Jennifer Joyce)
(Serves 4)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 small onion, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp peanut oil
900g piece skinless monkfish
200g dried vermicelli noodles
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
40g roughly chopped dill stalks and leaves

Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, tumeric, fish sauce and 1 tsp of the peanut oil in a bowl. MIx well, then add the fish and allow to marinate for 10 mins.

Meanwhile place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover well. Leave to sit for about 5 mins or until tender and then drain.

Heat the remaining peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the spring onion and dill and cook for 1 min, then add the fish mixture. Sir fry dor 3-4 mins or until the fish is cooked through.

Divide the noodles among the bowls and serve the fish on top with its juices spooned over. Serve with a small sprinkling of coriander.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Prawn Bisque

I seem to be eating soup once or twice a week at the moment, it's filling and healthy with all that veg. I make big pot at the weekend and freeze half and take half for lunch during the week. This Bisque is delicious, best served straight away when you cook it, as freezing seems to take some of the delicious flavour away.

Prawn Bisque (from
(Serves 4)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrots, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
900ml stock
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
225g cooked prawns
8 tbsp very low fat fromage frais
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

Put the onion, carrot and celery into a saucepan with the stock. Add a couple of parsley sprigs, reserving some for garnish. Add the bay leaf.

Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add most of the frozen prawns, reserving a few to thaw out for the garnish. Cook the soup gently for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and parsley sprigs.

Puree the soup in a blender with half the fromage frais until smooth. Check the seasoning, adding pepper to taste (it is unlikely that you will need salt). Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat gently.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve, garnished with the remaining fromage frais, prawns and parsley sprigs.

For a super-smooth texture, pass the soup through a fine sieve after blending it.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Last Saturday I had to work, so I was looking for something that I could pack up easily and take for lunch. I had heard about Fattoush ages ago and never got around to making it, and then I found a recipe in one of my WeightWatchers cook books and thought perfect! Fattoush is an Arabic bread salad made from pieces of toasted pitta combined with mixed greens and other veg. It is delicious, I didn't have any peppers so I used green beans instead, not strictly authentic, but they needed using up and I love green beans in salad!

(Serves 4)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

2 medium pitta breads
8 cos lettuce leaves, washed
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red or orange pepper, deseeded and diced
a bunch of watercress, chopped roughly
a bunch of mint, chopped

For the dressing

juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp low fat natural yogurt
1 tbsp french or wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper

Toast the pittas in a toaster or under the grill then cut into small squares.

Place two lettuce leaves on each serving plate. Put all the other salad ingredients, including the bread, into a large bowl.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss together. Spoon onto the lettuce leaves and serve.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fish Tray Bake with Potato, Fennel and Tomato Olive Vinaigrette

I bought a fennel bulb from Borough Market a few weeks ago and had been looking for something to with it since. I found this recipe in one of my new cook books Skinny Meals in Heel by Jennifer Joyce. This book is awesome, I've found so many lovely recipes in it, that are easy and quick to prepare but look and taste fabulous. I used Coley as my fish and used cherry tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes.

Fish Tray Bake with Potato, Fennel and Tomato Olive Vinaigrette (from Skinny Meals in Heels - Jennifer Joyce)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

500g small potatoes cut into 1.5cm slices
4 small fennel bulbs, cores removed thickly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 fish fillets (salmon, halibut cod etc)
1 tsp fennel seeds

Tomato Olive Vinaigrette
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
15 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Arrange the potato and fennel slices in a single layer on a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins or until golden and nearly cooked through, then place the fish on top and sprinkle with the fennel seeds and more seasoning. Bake for another 10 mins or until the fish is cooked.

Meanwhile make the tomato-olive vinaigrette. Pour the vinegar over the shallot in a bowl and allow to sit for a few mins, then add the olive oil, tomato and olives and season. Mix well and set aside.

Serve the potato, fennel and fish bake with the vinaigrette spooned over.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Baked Apples

I was looking for an easy healthy dessert that I could make one weekend when I had some points left over for the day and I looked in my fruit bowl and found some bramley apples that my Mum had brought up a couple of weeks previously. I remember having baked apples as a child and absolutely loving them, it's one of those comfort foods you remember being lovely and warming on a cold winters night, and although its not actually winter anymore it definitely feels like it!

Baked Apples
(Serves 1)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 bramley apple, cored
1 tbsp raisins or sultanas
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flora light

Place the apple on a baking sheet with some greaseproof paper on it and score a line around the equator of each apple.

In a bowl mix together the sugar, sultanas, ginger and cinnamon and then pack the middle of the apple with the mixture.

Top with the flora light and bake for 40 mins or until cooked through. Baste the apples with any liquid left on the tray and serve with ice cream.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Spiced Beef Kebabs

These kebabs made a lovely light lunch last Saturday, I put the kebabs on a bed of salad and served them with some tzatziki and some aubergine dip. I also add tomatoes to the skewers when I ran out of peppers. Delicious!

Spiced Beef Kebabs (from WeightWatchers Cook Smart Easy Everyday)
(Serves 2)
(6 WW ProPoints per serving)

juice of a small lemon
1 tsp medium curry powder
1/4 tsp dried mint
250g rump steak, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 red onion, chopped roughly into big pieces
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into big pieces
salt and pepper

Preheat the grill.

Mix the lemon juice, curry powder, mint and seasoning together in a bowl. Stir in the diced steak, red onion, pepper and mix well to coat in the spice mix.

Thread the cubes of beef onto skewers, alternating with pepper and red onion. Grill for 8-10 mins, turning once or twice until cooked to your liking.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Garlic and Herb Tagliatelle

I'm not really sure about this dish. It was ok, nothing too exciting but it filled a hole! I used a soft cheese with herbs and garlic and used grated courgette as I am trying to use up the stuff in the freezer. I also added asparagus and served it with a mixed leaf salad with balsamic vinegar.

Garlic and Herb Tagliatelle (from
(Serves 1)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)

60g dried tagliatelle
cooking spray
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g courgette, sliced into ribbons with a peeler
50g low fat soft cheese
black pepper to season

Cook the tagliatelle in a pan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked but still with some bite.

Meanwhile, mist a separate pan with calorie controlled cooking spray and add the garlic and courgette. Fry, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the courgette has softened. 
Add the drained pasta to the courgettes with the soft cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the pasta is coated.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mushrooms on Toast

I have my first vegetable from the garden! Well it's not really from the garden, as they were grown in a box in my living room! But I have mushrooms!!

I let them get a little big but they were delicious and this is a healthy breakfast that's reasonably quick to make.

Mushrooms on Toast
(Serves 1)
(4 WW ProPoints per serving)

4 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp flora light
5 sprays cooking spray
1 tsp parsley
1 slice wholemeal bread

Heat a frying pan and add the cooking spray and half the flora. Cook the mushrooms until they are soft and have gone more brown.

Meanwhile, toast the bread and spread the other half of the flora on it. when the mushrooms are coked put on top of the bread and then sprinkle with parsley. Serve.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fisherman's Stew

I spent a rainy Bank Holiday weekend catching up on shopping and menu planning for the week. I find this makes it much easier to track the points that I'm eating. I had this lovely fish stew one evening last week and it was quick and easy to make, delicious and proves that healthy food doesn't have to be boring. Weigh in tonight!

Fisherman's Stew (adapted from WeightWatchers The Complete Kitchen)
(Serves 2)
(5 WW ProPoints Per Serving)

1/2 orange
pinch of saffron
cooking spray
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
400g can cherry tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
125ml veg stock
175g new potatoes, sliced 5mm thick
200g frozen seafood, defrosted
1/2 tsp paprika

Pare three strips of zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler, and squeeze out the juice. Add the saffron to the orange juice and leave to soak.

Heat a large lidded saucepan over a medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the pepper and garlic and stir fry for 3 mins.

Add the saffron and orange juice, the cherry tomatoes, caster sugar, stock and new potatoes, plus the pared orange zest. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the seafood mix and simmer for 5-8 mins or until the seafood is piping hot.

Ladle into bowls to serve.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fishfinger Pockets

I love fishfingers and it turns out that their actually pretty healthy, at least if you buy decent ones. Now I love a fishfinger sandwich and this is a slightly healthier version with a tortilla wrap rather than a bun. The original recipe called for natural yoghurt but I had tzatziki and that was fantastic on these.

Fishfinger Pockets (adapted from
(Serves 4)
(6 WW ProPoints per serving)

8 fishfingers
4 flour or corn tortillas
100g little gem lettuce
8 tsp fresh tomato salsa
4 tsp tzatziki
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat the oven and cook the fishfingers according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile place a frying pan over a high heat. Warm the tortillas for 10 seconds on each side, until warm and soft. Divide between 4 plates.

Top each tortilla with a handful of lettuce and divide the fishfingers between each wrap with 2 tsp salsa, 1 tsp tzatziki and a pinch of paprika.

Wrap up the tortilla to make a pocket, folding in the bottom and then the sides. Serve immediately.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Squid Salad

Last weekend my Mum can to stay for a couple of days and we went to Borough Market on the Saturday morning. We found a lovely fishmonger there and we got a huge squid from him for supper. Flicking through my recipe books we found this Squid Salad recipe and had it as a starter. Originally the recipe calls for cooking the squid in stock but I suspect this is a sure fire way to making it rubbery, so we griddled it instead and it was delicious and not rubbery at all.

Squid Salad (adapted from WeightWatchers Soups and Salads)
(Serves 4)
(2 WW ProPoints per serving)

300g fresh squid, sliced, keeping the tentacles whole
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways and sliced thinly
1 tbsp sesame seeds
100g lettuce leaves, chopped

For the dressing
juice of a lemon
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Lay the lettuce leaves and cucumber out on the plate.

Heat a griddle pan and griddle the squid for about a minute on each side. Lay the squid on top of the salad and pour over the dressing. Serve.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Soup

My weigh in day is a Tuesday, so I got weighed last night and I have lost 4 pounds! So chuffed as I have been trying really hard this week, but also trying to eat things already in my fridge and freezer that needed eating but were possibly bigger portions or higher in fat than I am now eating but I still succeeded! Very happy! I am slowly getting my head around changing what I am eating but also eating the foods I enjoy.

This cauliflower and blue cheese soup is delicious and although it has (to me) only a tiny amount of blue cheese in it, the taste definitely still comes across strongly.

Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Soup (adapted from
(Serves 4)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 large onion, chopped
270g cauliflower, broken into florets
2 vegetable stock cubes, dissolved in 900ml boiling water
60g Stilton cheese, crumbled (or Danish Blue)
2 tsp chives, snipped
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
5 sprays cooking spray
120g Extra Light Soft Cheese with Garlic and Herbs

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan and sauté the onion for about 3 minutes, until softened.

Add the cauliflower and vegetable stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Transfer to a liquidiser or food processor and blend for about 15 seconds. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the soft cheese and then add the remainder to the soup in the liquidiser. Add the blue cheese and half the chives. Blend for a few more seconds, until smooth. Return to the saucepan and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and spoon a little reserved soft cheese on top of each portion. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and a little pepper. Serve at once.