Sunday, 30 September 2012

Spiced Lentil and Egg Supper

Last night I took part in Shine, a walking half marathon through Central London at night. We started at 7.45 and finished at 12.15. It was fantastic! I had an absolutely wonderful time and the atmosphere was great. As well as walking in my own right I was a chaperone for some sixth form girls from school and we managed not to lose anyone!! I also feel a huge sense of achievement, I know that before I started loosing the weight I would have never even contemplated doing something like this, it's a nice finish to everything.

This was the meal I had before I started. I thought the lentils and brown rice would keep me filled up especially as I had to eat before I left home at 4.30pm. There were pit stops around the course with water and cereal bars which kept me topped up nicely!

Spiced Lentil and Egg Supper (adapted from WeightWatchers Magazine October 2012)
(Serves 4)
(11 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g dried brown basmati rice
200g dried split red lentils
1 veg stock cube, crumbled
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 large onion
1 aubergine, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
100g mushrooms, diced
150g frozen peas
squeeze lemon juice
4 eggs, poached

Put the rice and lentils in a medium saucepan and add the stock cube and half the turmeric with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 20-25 mins, or until the rice is just tender.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and mist with cooking spray. Add the onion, aubergine and garlic and mist again with cooking spray. Cook stirring for about 6 mins until softened. Add a splash of water if the veg starts to stick. Stir in the remaining turmeric, the curry powder and the mushrooms and cook for a further 5-6 mins, stirring all the time, until all the veg are soft. Add the frozen peas and stir over a medium heat until heated through.

Drain the rice and lentils and stir into the cooked veg. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Serve topped with the poached egg.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Mexican Sweetcorn Soup

This is possibly one of the best soups I've tasted. It's lovely and creamy, a bit spicy and with that hit of lime juice a bit sour too. All the things you need!

Mexican Sweetcorn Soup (adapted from WeightWatchers Our Week)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
300g tomatoes, desseded and chopped
300g potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 x 326g cans sweetcorn, drained
900ml hot veg stock
juice 1 lime
4 bags WeightWatchers Nacho Cheese Flavour Tortillas

Mist a pan with cooking spray and add the onion. Fry, stirring for 5 mins, until starting to soften. Add the garlic, chilli and cumin and fry, stirring, for 1 min.

Stir in the tomatoes, sweetcorn, potatoes and stock. Cover and simmer for 10 mins.

Blend the soup until it's combined. Season, stir in the lime juice,then ladle into 4 bowls. Serve with the Nacho Tortillas.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Artichoke Panini

Last panini! I had to buy four panini buns and this is the last of them! I have loved the variety of cheesy things I can do with my shiny grill, there really is nothing better than a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day, or even on a hot day! I didn't know how well soft cheese would work in panini but actually it's lovely, it goes all melty and even softer.

Artichoke Panini
(Serves 1)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 panini bun
30g extra light soft cheese
1 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated
handful baby spinach leaves
2 artichokes from a jar, cut into three

Mix together the soft cheese and Parmesan.

Cut the panini bun in half and spread the cheese mixture on half of the bun. Put the artichokes on top of the cheese mixture, followed by the spinach.

Place the other half of the bread on top and cook in a panini press for 5-10 mins until the cheese is melting and the bread is crisp.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Smoked Haddock and New Potatoes in a Mustard Sauce

Give me smoked fish, mustard, herbs and a creamy sauce and I'm happy. This was delicious, really satisfying on a very chilly day. I served it with green veg and my last sweetcorn from the garden.

Smoked Haddock and New Potatoes in a Mustard Sauce
(from WeightWatchers Cook Smart Simply Suppers)
(Serves 2)
(5 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g new potatoes, halved
200g smoked haddock
cooking spray
4 leeks, sliced finely
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
200g virtually fat free fromage frais
small bunch of tarragon or parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat the grill to hot and line the grill pan with foil. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and cook for 15-20mins until tender. Drain.

Place the haddock fillet skin side down on the grill pan and grill for 5-10 mins until opaque and cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large, lidded pan and spray with the cooking spray. Stir fry the leeks for a few mins and then add a couple of tbsp water. Cover and leave to cook on a low heat for 5 mins or until softened.

Add all the other ingredients to the leeks, including the cooked potatoes. Flake in the cooked haddock, removing the skin first and gently fold together. Check the seasoning and heat through, then serve.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Parma Ham, Rice and Rocket Salad

I made a beautiful pesto pizza for some friends, which I totally forgot to take a picture of, but it had parma ham on it and I was left with most of a packet left to use. Some went for a very posh breakfast of water biscuits, goat's cheese, parma ham and fruit and the last couple went on this beautiful and delicious salad. salty but not too salty with the rice this was so good.

Parma Ham, Rice and Rocket Salad (adapted from
(Serves 2)
(11 WW ProPoints per serving)

120g basmati & wild rice
40g rocket
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 slices parma ham
2 tbsp capers
4 chargrilled artichokes, cut into three
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chives
pinch salt

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, it usually takes about 25 mins. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

Toss the rice with the rocket, cherry tomatoes, artichokes and capers then share between 2 serving plates. Tear the parma ham slices on top.

Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and herbs. Season with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salads.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Squash Stuffed with Leeks and Ham

I had two very sad looking leeks in my fridge last week and I had to find something to do with them before they were beyond use. I really struggled at first, I didn't just want to make leek and potato soup, and then I found the River Cottage Veg book, which had numerous recipes using leeks. I have un-vegetarianed this recipe and added ham, which was lovely. The dish was fantastic and creamy and as you can see I used a slightly over-sized courgette rather than a squash but it worked just the same.

Squash Stuffed with Leeks and Ham (adapted from River Cottage Veg - Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall)
(Serves 4)
(6 WW ProPoints per serving)

20g low fat spread
2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tsp mustard
4 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
8 pieces low fat ham
125g cheddar, grated
2-4 smallish squash
handful thyme sprigs
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Heat the low fat spread in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the leeks. As soon as they begin to sizzle, turn the heat right down and cover the pan. Sweat the leeks gently for about 10 mins, until very soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, creme fraiche, cheese and ham. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.

Carefully slice a lid off the top of each squash and set aside. With a small sharp knife cut into the centre of each squash, then use a teaspoon to scoop out all the seeds and fibres.

Fill the squash cavities with the ham and leek mixture - they should be about two thirds full. Tuck a few thyme sprigs into the centre of each squash. Put the lids back on top and stand the squash on a large baking tray.

Bake for 50-60 mins until the flesh feels very tender inside. Serve straight away.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tricolour Pasta and Chicken Salad

Rather than this being a tricolour pasta salad, mine was a six colour pasta salad! My brought me a packet of pasta back from Spain and it has all the colours of the rainbow! Well not quite but it is lovely and colourful. This is one of my quickie make the evening before lunches. It is supposed to have rocket on top, but I forgot it and it's just as nice without!

Tricolour Pasta and Chicken Salad (from
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

cooking spray
300g chicken breast, cut into strips
100g green beans
150g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
50g rocket
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
240g dried tricolour pasta
Cook the chicken in a frying pan using the low fat cooking spray.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water according to the pack instructions adding the beans for the final 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

Mix together the yogurt, tomato puree and soy sauce and stir in to the pasta. Add the tomatoes and chicken and serve topped with the rocket.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lamb Steak Provencale

I have had a busy weekend. I work in a school and we had Open Day on Saturday, where prosective parents come and look round the school. When they come into the library we chat with them about how wonderful the library is. Which it is, for a school library it's huge and really well resourced with lots of natural light.

It has four floors and is really well used by all of the school community. Open day usually ends with my cheeks hurting from smiling so much! This Lamb Provencale is really quick and easy to make, fantastic when you've had a long day! I used ratatouille that I already had for the sauce but the recipe below shows you how to make it from scratch. I served it with brown rice.

Lamb Steak Provencale (from WeightWatchers Cook Smart Easy Everyday)
(Serves 1)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)

2 tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
3 tbsp white wine
1 sprig fresh basil
125g lean lamb steak
salt and pepper

Spray a pan with cooking spray and cook the onion for 5 mins until softened and translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, courgette, wine and seasoning. Cook the mixture until it sizzles. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 mins until the veg have softened. Mix in the basil.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill. Season the lamb steak and grill for about 5 mins. Spoon over the sauce and serve.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hot Maple Nectarines

I don't make puddings very often but occasionally I come across something I really want to try and this was one of those. I'm not much a fan of nectarines so I used peaches instead but I suspect it doesn't really make a difference, this was lovely and sweet. I served it with a tbsp of half fat creme fraiche instead of ice cream, which lowered the points value too!

Hot Maple Nectarines (from WeightWatchers Magazine September 2012)
(Serves 2)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

3 ripe but firm nectarines, halved and stoned
1 tsp orange zest
pinch ground cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 50g scoops light vanilla ice cream

Heat the oven to 230C.

Cut two squares of foil, add the nectarines cut side up and top with the zest, cinnamon and maple syrup. Seal the parcels by scrunching the edges. Sit them on a baking sheet and cook for 12-15 mins.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Zebra Burger

This one is not really a recipe, we all know how to put a burger together. But this is no ordinary burger, this is a Zebra burger! There is a fantastic stall on Borough Market which sells all kinds of exotic meat, from Kangaroo to Camel and Springbok to Elk, a lot of which come in a burger form. Gamston Wood Farm is in Nottinghamshire and this is where the meat comes from. I like the idea that there are lots of weird and wonderful creatures running around this farm in Nottinghamshire, whether or not this is true I don't know, but it's a lovely idea.

Their main seller is ostrich meat, a really lean meat but really flavourful. Now ostrich is nothing new to me, I grew up not far from an ostrich farm, so have been eating it since I was a teenager but the other meats are something else, the meats change seasonally and they always have about 8 different meats on sale at Borough  Market every Friday and Saturday. I bought a selection of the burgers and have been trying them over the last few weeks. I love trying all the different meats, after all it's not often you get served zebra for dinner!

The meat from all of these exotic animals is fairly lean, so good for keeping me trim, the burgers are about 4 WeightWatchers Pro Points per serving and it's also exciting to try new things! I pan fried this burger so that I could get it medium in the middle and then I put it in the oven with some cheese on top for a couple of minutes for the cheese to melt. It was lovely and pink in the middle and delicious. I added some pickles, tomatoes and lettuce and served it with spicy sweet potato chips.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Courgette, Feta and Olive Rice Salad

This a bento version of a salad that I have all the time. The picture is actually quite old but when I was doing a bit of rejigging the other day I realised that the recipe wasn't on my blog at all! It's a lovely way of using up courgettes from the garden and I like to put vinaigrette over the top if it but if you don't want to then it's lovely without too. The saltiness of the feta and olives is lovely with slightly blander courgettes and rice. Again it can be made the night before packed in a lunch box and taken to work the next morning.

Courgette, Feta and Olive Rice Salad (adapted from Good Food Magazine May 2004)
(Serves 1)
(12 WW ProPoints per serving)

60g white basmati and wild rice
cooking spray
1/2 courgette, sliced
6 black olives, sliced
30g feta cheese, chopped/crumbled

For the vinaigrette
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper

Cook the rice according the packet instructions, usually 25 mins, then drain and rinse under cold water. Put into a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and fry the courgette until it is golden brown on both sides. Leave to cool.

Then make the vinaigrette, put the olive oil, vinaigrette and mustard in a jar with a lid, season and then shake.

When the courgette is cool, add it to the rice along with the olives and feta. Mix to combine. Pour over the vinaigrette and serve

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cheese and Ham Panini

I am so in love with panini at the moment! Ham and cheese is so simple but so good and the basil is perfect in this sandwich too. So even though I am on a "diet" I can still eat the oozy gooey mess that is a grilled cheese sandwich! Speaking about that I reached my WeightWatchers goal last night! I was in fact 2lbs below it! So happy! I've lost 2st 4lbs in total and I feel so much better! Now all I have to do is try and stay the same!

Cheese and Ham Panini (adapted from
(Serves 4)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 panini rolls, cut in half
4 slices low fat ham
1 125g ball of mozzarella, sliced
2 tbsp minced fresh basil

Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small dish. Using a basting brush, brush each cut side of the panini roll, with the olive oil mixture.

Heat a two-sided grill, or panini press, and coat with cooking spray. With the oiled side up, top half of each bun with one slice of ham, 1/4 of the ball of cheese, and 1/2 tbsp of the minced basil. Top each panini with the other half of the bun, oiled side down.

Grill each panini about 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, and the bread is crisp.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Roasted Veg, Green Lentil and Pasta Salad

I made enough roast veg for three meals. The first was the panini and the second was this pasta salad. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the third so it's in the freezer at the moment. This looked interesting and full of fibre. It was little disappointing. It lacked flavour really and I'm not sure I'm that keen on slightly mushy roast veg. It is perfect for a take to work lunch though as you can make it the night before, put it in the fridge and then just pick it up in the morning., I just need to find something liven it up a bit.

You also might notice a change in the recipes section. I spent some of yesterday rejigging things to make recipes easier to find so they are split up into categories now and hopefully it makes sense.

Roasted Veg, Green Lentil and Pasta Salad (adapted from
(Serves 4)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)

100g lentils
1 veg stock cube
200g pasta (small shapes)
cooking spray
4 portions of roasted veg
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Put the green lentils into a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring up to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes, without a lid. Drain well, return to the saucepan and add the stock cube and plenty of fresh boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the pasta shapes and cook until tender – about another 6-8 minutes.

Tip the roasted veg into a salad bowl and add the tomato puree, lemon juice and parsley or chives. Stir well.

Drain the pasta and lentils, rinsing with cold water to cool them quickly. Drain thoroughly, then tip them into the salad bowl and toss with the other ingredients. Season and keep covered and chilled until ready to serve.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cauliflower, Swiss Chard and Gnocchi Bake

I've been trying to grown Swiss chard in my garden for the first couple of years and it just doesn't work. The leaves grow a bit and then they turn brown and crispy no matter how much I water them. It's really irritating. So when I saw a huge bunch in my local Turkish supermarket I wanted to try it. This bake seemed the perfect option, disguising the boring cauliflower with a lovely leafy green vegetable! What could be better?

This was really good, lovely and cheesey. I made a mistake though, I actually cooked the chard before putting it in the dish to bake and I forgot to squeeze all the water out so mine came out a little watery. I really don't think you need bother cooking the chard before, maybe the thick stalky bits but not the leaves.

Cauliflower, Swiss Chard and Gnocchi Bake (adapted from
(Serves 4)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

275g cauliflower florets
500g gnocchi
125g baby plum tomatoes, halved
75g Swiss chard, cooked, squeezed and chopped
30g low fat spread
30g plain flour
450ml skimmed milk
100g mature cheddar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Boil the cauliflower for 5 minutes, then drain and arrange in a 1½ litre ovenproof dish with the gnocchi, the tomatoes and the chard. Set aside.

Melt the low fat spread in a pan. Whisk in the plain flour, cook, whisking, for 2 minutes, then whisk in the skimmed milk. Gently simmer, whisking constantly, for 15 minutes or until it thickens.

Stir in the cheese and mustard and season. Spoon over the cauliflower.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Oriental Chicken Noodle Salad

I love noodle salads, it's a shame I don't make them more often. I love those Asian flavours and they seem to intensify when cold in a salad. The original recipe has no noodles in it but I needed carbs the night I had it in preparation for working hard at Zumba! Really tasty.

Oriental Chicken Noodle Salad (adapted from BBC Food)
(Serves 4)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

160g noodles
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 large carrot, cut into fine matchsticks
1/2 white cabbage, finely sliced
1 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm/1in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, shredded
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved, de-seeded and cut into matchsticks

Cut the chicken into thin strips and mix with the honey, vinegar and soy sauce. Leave to marinate in a non-metallic bowl for about 30 minutes.

Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken over a high heat with any marinade for about 5 mins until the chicken is cooked through, add in the cabbage and carrot and stir fry for 2 more mins leaving some cooked marinade in the pan to use as the salad dressing.

To serve warm, toss in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and eat immediately. To serve cold, leave the cooked chicken, carrot, cabbage and marinade to cool and then toss with the remaining ingredients.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Roasted Veg Panini

I found another excuse to use my George Foreman grill! Another panini, in fact there are a few coming in the next few days! I've gone a bit panini mad! This was deliciously simple. I made a huge pan of roasted veg so you don't have to stick to the quantity in the recipe, you can make more and use it in other things. I served the panini with the spicy coleslaw from the lamb pittas the other day.

Roasted Vegetable Panini (adapted from Giada Di Laurentiis)
(Serves 1)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

1/2 medium pepper, chopped
1/4 aubergine, chopped
1/2 medium courgette, chopped
1/2 red onion, cut into chunky slices
4 cherry tomatoes
1 panini bun

40g light mozzarella
1 tbsp light pesto

Preheat the oven to 200C

Put the veg out on a baking tray and spray with cooking spray, toss to coat and then spread out evenly. Cook in the oven for 20 mins.

Remove the vegetables from the oven. Turn them over and add the cherry tomatoes. Season with black pepper. Return to the oven to roast for a further 5 minutes.

Turn on your panini press. Split the panini bun in half and spread pesto over both sides. Put the roasted veg on one side of the panini and layer the mozzarella on top. Put the other half of the bread on top and cook in your panini press for about 10 mins or until the cheese has melted and the bread is crispy.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Tuna and Pepper Pasta Bake

Another food I'm not really fond of is tinned tuna. I love fresh tuna but tinned not so much, unless it's in a burger, those were delicious. This wasn't too bad either, there isn't actually all that much tuna in it but it's enough to know that it's there. I used the other half of the tin to make a delicious tuna and olive wrap which I forgot to photograph! I need to get better at photographing my lunches! I think I'm just too sleepy in the mornings!

Tuna and Pepper Pasta Bake (adapted from WeightWatchers Magazine September 2012)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

250g pasta shapes
125g chargrilled peppers, drained and chopped
6 spring onions, sliced finely
130g can tuna in spring water, drained
200g extra light soft cheese
75g light mozzarella, drained and torn
10g parmesan, grated finely

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling water and simmer for 5 mins. Drain and tip back into the pan. Stir in the pepper, spring onion, tuna, soft cheese and season.

Tip into a 1 litre ovenproof dish. Tear the mozzarella and scatter it over the top then sprinkle the parmesan over the top.

Bake for 30 mins or until golden and bubbling. Serve with a green salad.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Saturday Night Lamb Pittas

As I said before I'm a bit of a sandwich fiend at the moment, whether it be pitta bread, wraps, panini or just a bog standard sandwich I can't get enough. I love the coleslaw in this and actually served it on Sunday night to a couple of friends with some pizza, which I forgot to take a picture of :(. I'm not all that keen on lamb, I think it has a bit of a fatty taste, even though these were super lean leg steaks it was still there. I shall have to find other ways of using the coleslaw recipe though, which works just as well with creme fraiche as with yogurt.

Saturday Night Lamb Pittas (from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 4)
(11 WW ProPoints per serving)

juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of hot chili powder
4 lean lamb leg steaks
1 onion sliced thinly
4 pitta bread

For the spicy slaw
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
200g cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated coarsely

Mix the lemon juice, garlic and spices together in a shallow dish, add the lamb and onion and turn to coat in the mixture. Set aside for 10 mins while you make the slaw.

In a mixing bowl blend the mayonnaise, yoghurt and chilli sauce together and add the cabbage and carrot, mixing together well.

Heat a frying pan over a high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the lamb steaks, reserving the marinade and cook for 2 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

Add the onions and any remaining marinade to the frying pan and stir-fry for 5 mins until browned, adding a splash of water if the onions start to stick.

Slice the lamb thinly and toast the pittas. Slice the pittas open and tuck the lamb and onions into each pitta. Serve with the slaw in the pitta or on the side.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bacon and Noodle Stir Fry

Unfortunately I am at a loss for words today, this is a rather nifty and simple bacon stir fry. I liked the idea of using bacon, which I'd never tried in a stir fry and it worked really well.

Bacon and Noodle Stir Fry (from WeightWatchers Foods)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

200g medium egg noodles
cooking spray
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 rashers smoked back bacon, sliced
175g broccoli, broken into florets
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp plum sauce

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Mist a wok with calorie controlled cooking spray. Fry the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the bacon and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and stir fry for 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and plum sauce and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the noodles and heat through.

Divide the stir fry between 4 plates to serve.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Glazed Sausage Kebabs

I haven't had much opportunity to use the barbecue this summer but I have been grilling things instead. I don't make kebabs very often as usually I find them too much hassle but I thought this was a different and healthy way of eating sausages rather than sausage and mash which is my standard sausage dish! Note to self though, don't put cherry tomatoes on the end of the kebab sticks as they fall off and make a mess of the grill pan! Again the dish used pretty much all produce out of my garden veg wise, the courgettes and cherry tomatoes are mine anyway, and I served it with rice and salad, simple yet delicious.

Glazed Sausage Kebabs (adapted from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW ProPoints per serving)

8 sausages, each cut into thirds
2 courgettes, sliced thickly
8 cherry tomatoes
4 small onions, quartered

For the glaze
2 tbsp mango chutney
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Make the glaze by gently heating all the glaze ingredients together in a small pan, stirring to mix for a few mins.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Thread alternate pieces of sausage, courgette, tomato and onion on to eight skewers.

Grill the kebabs for 12-15 mins, brushing with the glaze as you turn them. Mix any pan juices with leftover glaze and drizzle it over the kebabs to serve.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad

I'm not quite sure why this recipe is called Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad as it implies that the chicken is lemony when in fact you add the lemon to the couscous with everything else, but hey ho what's in a name?! This is a veggie stuffed couscous salad and absolutely delicious, easy to make too, takes about 10 mins.

I am always looking for quick and easy lunch recipes and also things that can be made the night before. My alarm goes off at 6am to go to work and I don't have time, or am more usually not awake enough to make huge elaborate lunches, so the more prep I can do the night before the better!

For this one I made the couscous the night before and kept it in a bowl over night in the fridge. In the morning I put the salad leaves in the bottom of the box and the couscous on top as I was worried that the leaves would wilt otherwise, took about 2 mins.

Lemon Chicken and Couscous Salad (adapted from WeightWatchers Cook Smart Easy Everyday)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

250g dried couscous
300ml hot chicken stock
2cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
1 courgette grated
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 tbsp mint, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cooked, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
salt and pepper
75g watercress or salad leaves

Place the couscous in a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Leave to rest for 10-15 mins. Add the grated ginger and stir around with a fork.

When the couscous is cool, stir with a fork and then stir in all the other ingredients. Season well and serve on a bed of watercress and salad leaves.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Nigel Slater's Feta and Tomato Stuffed Marrow

It's lovely to be able to make a meal using pretty much solely produce from the garden. The only thing not out the garden is the feta and the chilli. The chilli would have come from the garden but the plant's haven't produced anything this year. This is an absolutely brilliant way of using over sized courgettes. I always end up with one or two that I don't catch early enough and that grow huge, so it's nice to have a way to use them rather than them going to waste. Really simple oven only meal too.

Feta and Tomato Stuffed Marrow (adapted from Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers)
(Serves 4)
(6 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 medium-sized marrow
24 cherry tomatoes
salt and black pepper
1 medium-sized red chilli
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
a little low fat spread
200g feta
6 little sprigs of thyme

Preheat the oven to 200C

Cut 6-8 pieces of greaseproof paper about 30cm/12in square. Lay the marrow on a work surface, slice it in half round the middle and scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut each half into 6-8 thick hollow rounds. Place 2 rounds of marrow on top of each other onto each of the pieces of greaseproof paper.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Season with salt and black pepper.

Halve the chillies lengthways and scrape out their seeds. Finely chop the flesh of the chilli and add it to the tomatoes. Tear up the oregano leaves and stir into the tomato and chilli filling mixture.

Pile the filling into the hollows of the marrow slices. (If there is any left over then add it to the parcels just before wrapping). Dot pieces of low fat spread over the top of the marrow slices. Wrap the parcels tightly and secure by scrunching the tops or securing with a paper clip. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

Carefully open the parcels and check that the marrow is moist and translucent (if it isn’t then spoon over some of the juices in the parcel.)

Break up the feta and carefully push it into the middle of each round of marrow. Add the thyme in small sprigs.

Close the parcels again and return them to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is warm and slightly soft to the touch.

To serve, spoon the stuffed marrow rounds onto 3-4 plates and spoon over the juices that have collected in the parcels.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Chicken and Ricotta Parcels

I made this to use up some ricotta that I had bought for a pasta bake and made a really tasty meal. I am definitely a fan of the simple dish and this is as easy as they come. I actually used guinea fowl instead of chicken and I served it with a cherry tomato and feta salad and some broccoli and beans. I also have to say that I baked it for 25 mins rather than grilled it as the recipe suggested making it even easier to make.

Chicken and Ricotta Parcels (from WeightWatchers Cook Smart Easy Everyday)
(Serves 4)
(12 WW ProPoints per serving)

100g ricotta cheese
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or sage, chopped
1 shallot, chopped finely
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
240g dried tagliatelle
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the chopped herbs, shallot and seasoning. Cut a deep slit in the side of the chicken breast and open out to form a pocket. Stuff each breast with a spoonful of the cheese mixture. Secure the pocket with a cocktail stick. Preheat the grill to high.

Bring a pa of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, mix the honey and chilli powder or cayenne pepper and heat gently. Brush the chicken with the honey mixture and place under the hot grill for 7-8 mins or until cooked through. Remove the cocktail sticks before serving the chicken with the pasta.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Aubergine Dip

I am always looking for healthy but interesting snacks and I really miss my Friday night hummus and crisps chow down, so I found a healthy alternative. This dip is delicious and healthy and the addition of smoked paprika gives it a lovely smokey depth, it' also 0pp so wonderfully tasty without being sinful!

I also love this dish, my Mum brought it back from Spain for me and it's the perfect size for dips and the lovely blue flowers and pattern are beautiful.

Aubergine Dip
(Serves 4)
(0 WW ProPoints per serving)

2 large aubergines
1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cut the aubergines in half and put on a baking tray cut side up. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins or until the insides are mushy, halfway through turn the aubergines so they are cut side down.

When the aubergines are cooked, leave to cool for a bit and then scrape out the insides into a food processor. Add in the remaining ingredients and whizz until combined and puree like.

Serve with crudites for a 0pp snack or with plain crisps.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sweet and Sour Pork

I really don't like sweet and sour dishes from take aways or restaurants, I find them way too sweet and the addition of pineapple does not help, so I had ignored this recipe for ages. I finally actually looked down the list of ingredients and thought that they didn't sound too bad so I gave it a go and actually it was lovely. Obviously being a WeightWatchers version it had less sugar and sweet things in it, which helped and none of that horrible pineapple, but lots of crunchy veg instead.

Sweet and Sour Pork (from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 1)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 tsp cornflour
1-2 tsp chilli sauce
1 tsp light or dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp rice or wine vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
cooking spray
100g lean pork shoulder, cut into strips
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 small onion, sliced
1 small carrot, cut into fine strips
25g mange tout
1/2 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 100ml
1 tomato, skinned and quartered
salt and pepper

To Serve
75g hot cooked rice

In a small jug or bowl, mix together the cornflour, chilli sauce, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.

Heat a wok and lightly spray it with the cooking spray. Add the pork, stir frying it over a high heat for 3-4 mins to seal and brown it.

Add the garlic, onion, carrot and mange tout and stir fry for 2 mins. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 mins or until the pork is tender.

Mix in the tomato. Then add the blended cornflour mixture, stirring as you do so. Cook for 2 mins, until the sauce is thickened. Check the seasoning, add the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in a bowl with the hot cooked rice.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Venison Sausage and Lentil Casserole

I know September/August seems a funny time to be eating soup and casseroles, but the weather doesn't seem to change what I eat.  I don't mind eating lovely homely warming stuff even when it's hot outside. Plus this is England so it doesn't exactly get that hot! This was a fantastic homely comforting dish, simple to make. I served it with celeriac mash and cabbage.

Venison Sausage and Lentil Casserole (adapted from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 4)
(12 WW ProPoints per serving)

8 venison sausages
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
175g puy lentils
fresh thyme, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
600ml hot beef stock
4 tbsp half fat creme fraiche
salt and pepper

Prick the sausages all over then dry fry in a non stick saucepan until lightly coloured. Add the onion to the pan and continue to fry until the onion is golden. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for a further min.

Stir in the lentils, thyme sprigs, chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 mins. Stir occasionally, adding a drop of water of the mixture becomes too dry. Season to taste.

When the casserole is ready to serve, stir in the creme fraiche.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Teriyaki Beef with Ginger Noodles

This is a very simple teriyaki beef recipe. When I came to make this I realised I had no teriyaki sauce, so I made my own. This again is very easy to do...2 tsp tabasco sauce, 2 tbsp clear honey, 4 tbsp sesame oil, 4 tbsp soy sauce, mix together and you have teriyaki sauce! I also added home grown pak choi and courgette to the dish.

Teriyaki Beef with Ginger Noodles (from WeightWatchers Book of Recipes)
(Serves 2)
(14 WW ProPoints per serving)

125g medium egg noodles
kettleful of boiling water
225g fillet steak
3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp sherry
2 tsp sunflower oil
2.5cm root ginger, peeled and chopped finely
150g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
100g can bamboo shoots, drained
3 spring onions, sliced into long thin strips

Place the noodles in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave them to stand for 15 mins.

Meanwhile, slice the steak as thinly as you can. Place the beef slices in a shallow dish with the teriyaki sauce, tomato puree, garlic and sherry. Mix well so that the steak slices are evenly coated. Leave for 10 mins to marinate.

Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan or wok. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade, and add it to the pan with the ginger. Stir fry for 2 mins and then add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, most of the spring onions and the reserved marinade.

Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Mix them in well and heat through for 2-3 mins. Serve at once, sprinkled with the remaining spring onions.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Warm Broad Bean and Ham Pittas

Using more produce from my garden I made broad bean and ham pittas. I love finding new sandwiches and things to make for lunch. I'm on a big panini and warm pitta kick at the moment and I bought a lovely paninis, sandwich and wrap book from France which I have been using a lot. I find it difficult to think of things for lunch, especially when trying to maintain variety and making it portable for work, but it's always fun trying to adapt recipes and menu planning makes it much easier, as I have a dedicated time to sit down and work out the lunches and dinners for the week.

Warm Broad Bean and Smoked Ham Pittas
(Serves 4)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)

300g broad beans
cooking spray
1 onion, sliced finely
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50g smoked ham, cut into small strips
small bunch fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp virtually fat free fromage frais
4 pitta breads
salt and pepper

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the broad beans and cook for about 5 mins or until tender. Drain.

Heat a frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Add the onion, chilli and garlic and cook for a few mins, until softened and golden.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, ham, broad beans, mint and fromage frais. Season and mix together gently.

Warm the pitta breads in the oven or toaster. Spoon the ham and bean mixture into the pittas and serve

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Tagliatelle with Chargrilled Veg and Goat's Cheese

One more for Ethel the Goat and the #CapricornChallenge. I have been using courgettes in a variety of ways this year, I think I've cooked them in almost every way possible, but one of my favourite ways is on the griddle pan. I love the stripes it gives to the veg and combined with other chargrilled veg, goat's cheese and pasta, well what could be better?!

Tagliatelle with Chargrilled Veg and Goat's Cheese
(Serves 1)
(10 WW ProPoints per serving)

1 small courgette, sliced diagonally into strips
1 small aubergine, sliced
cooking spray
60g dried tagliatelle
15g pesto
50g roasted red pepper from a jar, cut into strips
25g goat's cheese
5-6 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Heat a griddle pan, Spray the courgette and aubergine strips with the cooking spray and griddle until tender.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Drain the pasta, but reserve 1 tbsp of cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan with the cooking water and add the pesto, courgette, peppers and aubergine. Cook gently over a low heat for 1 min.

Transfer to a warm serving bowl and top with the goat's cheese and basil leaves. Season with black pepper, then serve.