Technical Difficulties

Friday, August 24, 2012

Just a quick update: due to flooding in our kitchen(!), we had to be evacuated from our flat and have been without cooking facilities for the last month. :( Hopefully, I'll be able to whip up something tasty very soon! 

I'll be back & I'll have some interesting news to share, so keep checking back! :) 

Pan-fried Mackerel with Mango and Chilli Salsa

Monday, July 9, 2012

One of the best things about summer time is the opportunity to pair fresh fruit with fish, and there's just something delightful about seasonal mackerel with ripe mango.

This Slimming World friendly recipe is a cinch to make and slips down a treat. It's served on a bed of basmati and wild rice with a fresh fruit salsa.






groceries...

For the mango and chilli salsa:
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
1tsp dried mint
1tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper

For the mackerel:
2 mackerel filets
salt and pepper
low-calorie cooking spray

alright, let's cook:

For the mango and chili salsa, mix the mango with the chilli, spring onions, mint and lime juice in a bowl. Season, cover and set aside.
For the mackerel, make three to four slashes on the skin side of the filets and season both sides well. Lightly spray with cooking spray and cook, skin-side down for three minutes. Turn over and cook for a further three minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with basmati and wild rice.
This recipe is free on Slimming World's Extra Easy and Original plan. 



Grilled Turkey Burger with Marabel and Sweet Potato Fries

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do you remember about 10 years ago when everybody seemed to have been bitten by the low-carb bug?

Fast food joints all over America were turning out big honkin' all beef patties glistening with fat, smothered in cheese, mustard and ketchup coddled in lettuce boats.

Well, that was the inspiration behind this turkey burger. Not that much inspiration is needed to leave the bun behind and just have the meat, but still.

I follow Slimming World's Extra Easy plan and had started my morning with two pieces of wholemeal toast and melted cheese. Both my A and B Healthy Extras were spoken for for the day, but I still wanted a burger without any syns. The ultra lean turkey burger with grilled bacon and grilled onions was born. Served with a syn-free portion of Marabel and sweet potato oven fries and one of those cute little throwback lettuce boats.
groceries...

For the turkey burgers:
500g turkey mince (ground turkey)
4 rashers smoked lean bacon
1/2 onion
iceberg lettuce
1/4tsp garlic granules
1/4tsp oregano
1/4tsp parsley
1/4tsp mustard powder
1/4tsp Worcestershire sauce
drizzle of low-fat vinaigrette dressing
pinch salt and pepper

For the Marabel and sweet potato fries:
6 small Marabel potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
low-calorie cooking spray
salt



alright, let's cook:

For the burgers, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the mince with the garlic granules, oregano, parsley, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning. Form into patties and set aside while the grill warms and prepare the onion by slicing it. When the grill is warm enough cook each patty until cooked through. Set aside and cover with foil and simultaneously grill the bacon and the onions.

For the fries, peel and cut the sweet potatoes and the Marabel potatoes. Arrange on one or two paper-lined cookie sheets. Spray with low-calorie cooking spray and bake at 200C/400F for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove and salt liberally and return to the oven. There's no need to turn them over, but you can if you want to. Continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.

To serve, lay a bed of lettuce on the plate and place a turkey patty on top followed by one rasher of bacon and the grilled onions. Repeat if necessary for double or triple burgers. Drizzle liberally with low-fat vinaigrette and serve the well-seasoned fries on the side.

Note: of course, you can serve the burgers traditionally with buns and condiments if you want to.  

Five Minute Raspberry & Rosemary Sorbet

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tangy raspberries sing summertime. They're quintessential summer fruits: plump and bursting with juice and a slight sourness. I love them when they've made into a sauce, when they've been dried and stuck a top chunks of smooth white chocolate and especially when they've been incorporated into a heat-quenching cool sorbet or ice cream.

This is a  perfect summery recipe--versatile, a crowd pleaser and super fast! This sorbet is a healthy alternative to ice cream and is kind to your waistline. What's more, it's completely free on Slimming World's Extra Easy plan and it's ready for the freezer in less than five minutes!

groceries...

For the raspberry and rosemary sorbet:
1/4tsp rosemary, dried or fresh
1tbsp Truvia, no calorie sugar substitute
350g frozen raspberrie
450g Activia 0% Fat Free raspberry yogurt

alright, let's cook:


For the sorbet, put the frozen raspberries, yogurt, sugar substitute and rosemary into a food process.

Pulse for a few minutes until just incorporated and smooth. Decant into shallow, freezer-friendly container. Freeze for at least an hour and serve when it is semi-soft. 

nutrition...

Servings: 4
Amount Per Serving 
Calories:                  102.1
Total Fat:                 0.6g
Cholesterol:            0
Sodium:                  100mg
Total Carbs:           19.5g
Dietary Fiber:       9.1g
Protein:                 6.6g
Vitamin B-12:        63%

Oriental Chicken & Wild Rice Summer Salad

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This salad is surprisingly layered with flavors. When I first came across the recipe in this month's Slimming World magazine, I felt skeptical, but decided to give it a go anyway, with a few minor adjustments.

The best thing about this in terms of flavor is the sharp, soy-sauce based dressing. The best thing about it in terms of my waist is that it is free on Slimming World's Extra Easy plan.

The whole meal (rice & dressing) takes about half an hour to prepare, if you use pre-cooked chicken. Perfect as a light summer dinner or leftovers for a speedy lunch!


Strawberries Three Ways: Crumble, Pavlova, Souffle

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Tis the season to eat berries, yum yum yum yum yum, yum yum yum yum... I've always been a lover of strawberries, in fact, unlike most kids, my parents never had to beg me to eat my fruit (and veggies, too). I have fond memories of engorging on big helpings of fruit salad from the buffets of many American family restaurants growing up.

But it wasn't until I moved to England and experienced a proper English summer, buckets of rain and all, that I truly fell head over heels in love with strawberries. I've developed a taste for strawberries in things, baked until warm and soft, doused with sweet golden bits of crumble or foamy in a souffle or decadent as they come, fresh from the bush lain on top of a crisp meringue.

Since it's the season for these amazing little fruits and since I have a backlog of posts, I've decided to give you a three-for-one: a trifecta of treats for the next time you have a punnet of strawberries in your fruit basket. We'll look at an easy low-syn or syn free pavlova topped with strawberries and honeydew melon for my Slimming World buddies, a rich strawberry and rhubarb souffle for date night and a comforting and moreish strawberry and cherry crumble.
groceries...

For the syn-free strawberry and honeydew melon pavlova:
3 egg whites
3 tbsp Truvia, no calorie sugar substitute (syn free), plus extra for macerating fruit
1 small tub Weight Watcher's West Country cream (optional; 1 syn per serving)
2 punnets of fresh strawberries, quartered and macerated in Truvia
1 small honeydew melon, balled and macerated in Truvia

For the strawberry and cherry crumble:
1 punnet strawberries, halved
1 punnet cherries, pitted
2 tbsp Truvia or 4tbsp granulated sugar
2tbp water
2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
dash Vanilla
crumble topping either pre-packaged or homemade
 if homemade:
 1/2 cup plain/all-purpose flour
2 1/2 oz brown sugar
2 1/2 oz softened butter

For the strawberry and rhubarb souffle:
500g rhubarb, roughly chopped
2tbsp Chambord raspberry liqueur
1/2 punnet of fresh strawberries, quartered
1 oz unsalted butter, melted
5 1/2 oz caster sugar
3 egg whites




 
alright, let's cook:

For the strawberry and honeydew melon pavlova, wash and quarter 2 punnets worth of strawberries and allow to macerate in Truvia (or granulated sugar) in the fridge. Using a melon baller, scoop out the contents of one small honeydew melon and allow to macerate in Truvia or granulated sugar as well. Macerate the fruit in separate bowls. Macerate overnight or for at least two hours.

For the meringue, whisk three egg whites until soft peaks form, taking care not to get any yolk in the whites. Once you have soft peaks, slowly whisk in the Truvia or sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while. Continue to do this, tablespoon by tablespoon until stiff peaks form.

Shape the egg whites onto a parchment-lined, heavy-bottomed cookie sheet and bake at 140C for 90 minutes. Once 90 minutes has elapsed, turn off the oven but leave the meringue inside, allowing the oven to cool completely before opening.

Once cooled, pour over the cream or spray with squirty cream (if using) and arrange the fruit on top. Cut into triangular slices and serve.

For the strawberry and cherry crumble, simmer the cherries and strawberries over a medium heat in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a separate container, combine the water and the flour together using a whisk.  Set aside. Pour Truvia or sugar over the fruit in the pan along with the vanilla essence and continue to cook for about a minute or two. Add the flour and water paste and allow to thicken slightly before tipping out into a lightly greased baking dish.

If using pre-made crumble, just tip the contents of the packet onto the fruit. If not, rub in butter with the remaining flour and brown sugar until a crumble-like consistency forms. Then pour over the fruit and bake at 200C for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

For the strawberry and rhubarb souffle, combine the strawberries and the Chambord in a bowl and allow to macerate for an hour. Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a saucepan with 3 oz of the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered until soft and sticky. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Add the sugar bit by bit and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.

Place the fruit mixture into a large bowl and gently whisk 1/3 of the egg whites in by hand. Incorporate the rest of the egg whites into the fruit with a metal spoon. Half fill each rammekin with the mixture then place four slices of strawberries in the rammekin before filling to the top. Smooth the mixture with a palette knife and bake in a bain marie at 180C for 10 minutes. Dust with icing/confectioner's sugar and serve.

  

Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto & Spinach English Muffins

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

As soon as I put the knife and fork down, I wanted another go. You know when food's so good that you just want to keep eating it and eating it?

In the world of food writing, something with those qualities would be considered moreish. That's exactly what you have here.

Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant and after having some seriously good offerings, I wasn't entirely convinced I could do the dish justice.

After stumbling across an intriguing recipe for spinach English muffins, I decided to give it to go. Caution to the wind, I organized all of my ingredients on the countertop, cranked up the iPod and set to work recreating this classic brunch dish one rainy Sunday morning. 
groceries...


For the spinach English muffins:
  • 30g butter
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 1tsp dried yeast
  • 250g spinach
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 450g strong white flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • just a bit of Semolina
For the hollandaise sauce:
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt and pepper
  • few drops lemon juice
For the poached eggs:
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
alright, let's cook:


For the spinach English muffins, activate the yeast by steeping it in water as directed on the packet. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a saucepan, adding the sugar just as it begins to soften. Stir in the yeast (it should be frothy), and a bit of nutmeg. Add the spinach and allow to gently wilt.

Pour the flour and sea salt into a food processor. Pour over the yeasty, spinach mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. The dough should come away from the sides of the food processor cleanly. Depending on the size of your processor, you may need to do this step in two batches.

Remove the dough ball from the processor and place into a bowl covered with cling film. Leave to rest and rise for about half an hour. Once the dough has risen, dust your countertop with a little Semolina and, using your hands, stretch the dough out. Sprinkle the dough with more Semolina and cut into rounds. Heat a dry, non-stick frying pan until very hot and brown the muffins on each side for about five minutes.

For the hollandaise sauce, gently melt butter in a saucepan and set aside. Next, whisk the egg yolks and vinegar in a bain marie (a bowl set over the top of a pot of boiling water) along with a pinch of salt. Continue whisking the yolks until they have thickened.

Reduce the heat so that the rolling boil slows to a simmer while continuing to whisk the egg yolks. Slowly, drizzle in the butter, whisking all the while. Once all the butter has been whisked in, you should have a sauce the consistency of mayonnaise. Add a bit of lemon juice, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Keep warm.

For the poached eggs, bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. Add a the white wine vinegar and crack the eggs, one at a time, into the water to poach. If it helps, you can swirl the water to create a whirlpool effect, which will help keep the white together. Either way, it should take about 2 minutes for the eggs to poach.

To assemble, top each vibrantly green muffin with half a slice of prosciutto and a poached egg. Dress in a coat of thick, golden sauce and finish off with a good sprinkle of black pepper. 

 nutrition...

Servings: 4


Amount Per Serving
  Calories 1,053.1
  Total Fat 68.9 g
      Saturated Fat 39.4 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 19.2 g
  Cholesterol 445.4 mg
  Sodium 218.5 mg
  Potassium 467.8 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 84.5 g
      Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
      Sugars 5.3 g
  Protein 27.6 g
 Vitamin A 168.6 %
  Vitamin B-12 12.3 %
  Vitamin B-6 11.7 %
  Vitamin C 29.3 %
  Vitamin D 19.5 %
  Vitamin E 12.8 %
  Calcium 18.5 %
  Copper 5.2 %
  Folate 40.0 %
  Iron 15.3 %
  Magnesium 13.0 %
  Manganese 29.2 %
  Niacin 2.5 %
  Pantothenic Acid     3.7 %
  Phosphorus     18.0 %
  Riboflavin 21.0 %
  Selenium 8.6 %
  Thiamin 4.6 %
  Zinc 7.8 %

Ahhh, the Power of Cheese Giveaway!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In the wake of Cinco de Mayo, I find myself reflecting on what makes Mexican food so tasty. Last week, the husband and I consumed a record number of Mexican dishes in celebration of the 5th of May--from taco salad to tortas, it was all about the lime, the avocado and of course cheese!

I've always had a bit of a food affair with Mexican grub, if it can be folded up in a cozy tortilla, I'll eat it! There's something about Mexican food that's just comforting. Maybe it's because the entire cuisine has that no frills, just good home cookin' feel to it? Either way, Mexican food just wouldn't be the same without all that gooey, melted cheese perfection. In honor of this and because the lovely people at The English Table are so generous, I've got a treat for you!


i've got goodies...

That, my dear friends, is a Creative Tops Gourmet Cheese Baker! Typically used in French cuisine (baked Camembert, anyone?), I say it's time to broaden the horizons and liven up Nacho Night! Now, my husband does the best nachos I have ever tasted. He piles them onto a cookie sheet and loads it down with cheese and guacamole, sour cream and salsa... and he lets them bake. They're perfect.

But sometimes, you want something quick like tortilla chips and a nice gooey queso dip. How's about making your own with this lovely gourmet cheese baker? The skinny on cheese bakers is this: you can use any soft or semi-soft cheese! A few cheeses that would work well baked and use as dips are:
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Queso Asadero
  • Monterrey Jack
  • Stinking Bishop
  • Waterloo
  • Gorgonzola
  • et cetera, et ecetera ...
One lucky winner will receive that gorgeous piece of kitchen kit! It comes wrapped up in a spiffy box, too:

about The English Table...

The English Table is one of the UK's leading suppliers and manufacturers of quality design-led tableware and giftware.  With a passion for design, they constantly create new and exciting products for the retail market.

What I love about The English Table is that it responds to every type of cook out there--you're guaranteed to find something fabulous for your kitchen! From fine bone China to contemporary British fare to practical, everyday bits and bobs, The English Table is bound to have it!

Ever since my first visit to this site, I keep going back for a good nosy around! I've fallen in love with so many of their products, too! At the moment, I'm crushing on all of the Justin Capp merchandise, particularly the salt and pepper pigs. I swear, salt and pepper pigs are an addiction of mine ... I can think of three off the top of my head that are in my kitchen right now. :)     

 here's how to enter...

 a Rafflecopter giveaway