Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sweet Potato Rosti

- serves 2, syn free

- 1 sweet potato
- 1 potato
- 1 red onion
- black pepper
- 2 cloves crushed garlic

- peel the sweet potato, potato and onion, then grate, this is easiest to do using a food processor
- put the grated mix between several pieces of kitchen towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible
- transfer the grated mix into a large bowl and mix with the pepper and garlic, stir the mixture really well
- make into patties on a baking tray (on greaseproof paper or oil the tray) If you want the patties to look a uniform shape you can do this by pressing the mixture into a cookie cutter, then remove the cutter
- bake in the oven at gas mark 6/ 220°C for 30 minutes

Paxo Chicken Kiev

Serves 1, 2 syns

- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 25g paxo stuffing mix
- 1 tablespoon soft cheese ( can take from HE A)
- 1 chicken breast
-  black pepper
- garlic clove
- 1 slice brown bread,  as breadcrumbs (from HE B)

- make the breadcrumbs using a blender, mix the bread crumbs and the paxo well
- take the chicken breast and slice into the side of the breast to make a pocket
- mix the soft cheese with pepper and crushed garlic clove, spoon the mix into the  pocket on the chicken breast
- dip the chicken breast into the egg yolk and coat well
- dip the chicken into the stuffing and breadcrumb mix, coat it as thoroughly as possible.
- dip in the egg yolk a second time and then into the breadcrumb mix
- bake in the oven at gas mark 6/ 220°C for 30 minutes

Friday, 24 May 2013

Spicy Chicken Meatballs

makes 12 medium sized meatballs, 1 syn for six

- chicken mince
- 1 finely chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped corriander
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon of low fat plain yoghurt

- mix the mince, onion, spices and yoghurt together
- divide the mixture into 12 meatballs
- cook under the grill for around 20 minutes, until the meatballs are evenly cooked on all sides

Chinese Style Chicken,Sweetcorn and Noodle Soup

Serves 4, 1 syn per a person

- packet of chicken breasts
- 2 pints of chicken stock
- 1 tin creamed corn
- three  gently beaten eggs
- 6 finely chopped spring onions
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 cup vermicelli broken into inch long pieces

- put the chicken stock and the chicken breasts in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for  20 minutes (until the chicken is cooked)
- skim off any scum from the top of the stock
- remove the chicken from the stock and shred into small pieces
- add the tin of creamed corn to the stock, stir well and allow to cook for a few minutes
- add the spring onion and chicken into the soup
- mix the cornflower with a few spoons of water to make a smooth paste, add this to the soup to thicken it.
- stir in the vermicelli (it will cook in the heat of the soup)
- remove the soup from the heat, slowly pour in the eggs stirring the soup continuously

Monday, 20 May 2013

Prawn Egg Fried Rice

A nice quick dinner that uses up left over rice. Often you will hear people saying not to reheat rice as it can be poisonous. Whilst it's true that reheated rice could give food poisoning it is not the reheating that causes the problem. In order to prevent dangerous levels of bacteria in the rice it is important to cool the rice in the fridge rather than leaving it at room temperature.

serves 2, ½ syn each

- 2 cups of cold cooked rice
- 2  beaten eggs
- 6  finely sliced spring onions
- 1 cup frozen prawns
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 diced orange pepper
- handful of chopped coriander
- frylight

-  spray wok with frylight,  heat until the pan is really hot
- add the cold rice, fry for two minutes
- add the frozen peas, prawns, spring onion, pepper and coriander, fry for about five minutes
- make a well in the middle of the rice and add the eggs, allow to cook for two minutes until it begins to look like very soft scrambled egg
- stir the ingredients breaking up and spreading out the egg
- add soy sauce, garlic and ginger, stir well and serve


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Home Baked Hashbrowns

Probably one of the nicest breakfast foods, super simple to make and taste as good as deep fried ones. These are well worth the wait while they cook. It is possible to freeze them to eat at a later date.

These work best cooked in a silicon mini muffin tray as this browns the sides and base.

makes 12 small hash browns, SW buddies 6 hash browns = your HE A and1 syn

- 2 medium sized potatoes
- 6 spring onions finely sliced
- 60g Parmesan Cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil

- peel and grate the potatoes. Put the grated potato in a sieve and press out as much as the starchy water, transfer the grated potato to some kitchen towel (or a tea-towel) place another piece over the potato. Use your hands (or rolling pin) to get rid of as much water as possible. You can repeat this process several times if needs be.
- finely grate the Parmesan Cheese
- finely slice the spring onions into small pieces, include most of the green part as well as the white.
- in a bowl combine the potato, cheese, spring onion, garlic salt, pepper and oil, mix well

-use a mini muffin tin to make 12 hash browns
- bake in oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8  for 40 minutes, pop the hash browns out of the tray and turn them over so that the top also browns nicely. Cook for a further 10 minutes. -Turn out on to a piece of kitchen towel and stand for five minutes so the kitchen towel can soak up any extra oil

Friday, 17 May 2013

Easy Cheesy Garlic Pasta

One of my favourite quick and lazy dinners.

serves 2, syn free (if using both persons HE A)

-  150g spaghetti
-  pack of  baby plum tomatoes
-  1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- handful of chopped chives
- 30g grated Parmesan
- 75g light soft cheese
- 4 rashers bacon grilled, fat removed and sliced into small pieces

- cook the pasta according to the instructions, I cook the peas in the same water
- meanwhile cook bacon and grate cheese
- drain pasta, stir in the soft cheese, garlic, Parmesan, tomatoes, bacon. Stir well and serve

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Oven baked Falafel

I love falafel and decided to make a healthier version as they are normally deep fried in order to make them crispy. These baked ones have a crispy outside with a soft middle. I served them with Vegetable Pilau Rice.

1 syn for six falafel, mix makes 12

- 1 can chickpeas beans
-1 small  red onion onion, finely chopped
- 2- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 small red pepper finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste

- Preheat oven 220°C/ Gas Mark 8
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put in a large mixing bowl
- Add the rest of the ingredients and use a hand blender to make a paste
- I used a mini muffin tray to shape the mix into little patties
- Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned

Vegetable Pilau Rice

- ½ a cup of rice per a person
- 1 ½ cups of chicken stock per a person
- handful chopped coriander
-  handful of sliced mange-tout  
- handful of sliced baby sweetcorn
- ½ a teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ a teaspoon turmeric
- ½ a teaspoon garam masala

You could cook this is a saucepan but I used an electric steamer. You can easily vary the types of vegetables included for a bit of variety.

- place the rice in the electric steamers rice tray. add the spices and stir well.
- add the chicken stock
- add the vegetables and the coriander
- cook in steamer for 30 minutes, you should get nice fluffy rice in this time.  

If you don't have a steamer you could cook this is a saucepan but using a steamer is an effortless way of cooking really good rice. You can easily vary the types of vegetables included for a bit of variety.

Meat eaters could add diced chicken into the mix with the vegetables. 

Crunchy Garbanzo

After a discussion with some of my Slimming buddies about missing snacking on things, I decided to try and recreate a favourite childhood treat but without deep frying them in oil. This was very quick to prepare and has a nice crunch when cooked.

1 syn for the whole batch.

- 1 tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 14 squirts of Filippo Berio, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
- paprika
- garlic salt

- place the chickpeas in a sieve and rinse the chickpeas under the tap
- on a baking tray place several sheets of kitchen roll,  spread out the chickpeas on top.  put another bit of kitchen towel on top. dry off the chickpeas
- remove any lose chickpea skins
- put the dry chickpeas in a bowl, add the oil. shake well to coat the chickpeas
- spread the chickpeas out on the baking tray and sprinkle with paprika and garlic salt
- bake in the oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8 for 40 minutes, till the chickpeas harden. They should be crunchy on the outside but still soft inside. Every ten minutes or so shake the baking tray to help ensure that the chickpeas are crunchy all over. 

You could also try flavouring with lemon juice and black pepper.

Monday, 13 May 2013

My top ten kitchen gadgets

I'm a sucker for a good kitchen gadget, some of you have asked me about what gadgets I use in my cooking so here are my top ten useful gadgets to own.

Easy Chicken Casserole

 Serves 4, less than ½ syn each (depends on your type of gravy granules so heck your syn bible)

An easy but really delicious casserole. If you don't have a slow cooker this could be cooked in the oven. Although my advice is if you don't have a slow cooker go out and get one! They are perfect for days when you know you'll be late home and want dinner to be ready when you get home.

- 2 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 leek
- 3 potatoes
- 2 chicken stock cubes (I use knorr stock pot  concentrated stock)
- 1 and a half pints water
- 1 pack of skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- tablespoon of vegetable gravy granules

- peel and chop into chunks the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, potatoes
- chop leek into small chunks
- put all the vegetable into the slow cooker
-  add the concentrated stock
- pour in the water
- layer the chicken on the top of the vegetables
- turn slow cooker on 8hrs on low or 4hrs on high
- when the food is cooked, stir in the gravy granules to thicken the stock. stir well,the chicken should easily break up as you stir.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Four Cheese Macaroni

Really cheesy syn free comfort food. Only syn free if you use healthy a and only have one portion as the recipe uses 4  healthy a portions. if you are concerned about portion control you could bake as individual dishes in ramekins

Serves 4

-300g macaroni
-  75g Philadelphia Light with Sweet Chilli or garlic and herb (HA portion 1)
- pack of plum tomatoes
- 2 boiled eggs
- 80g reduced fat cheddar (HA portion 2 and 3)
- 6 thinly chopped spring onion
- 200ml of vegetable stock
-  1 cup of Low Fat Cottage Cheese with Onion & Chives (Asda and Tesco both do syn free options)
- meat eaters can add a cup of chopped chicken. ham or bacon

To make the crunchy topping - blend the following in food processor
- 1 slice of wholemeal brown bread (part of healthy b)
-1 teaspoon of onion salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 30g grated Parmesan (HA portion 4)
- 1 vegetable oxo cube

- cook the pasta and drain, hard boil the eggs - this can be done in the same pan
- in a blender put the cottage cheese, Philadelphia, vegetable stock and cheddar, blend until smooth
- in a casserole dish add the pasta, cheese sauce, sliced egg, tomatoes, spring onion and meat,  mix well
- slice the boiled eggs and add to mix
-season with salt and pepper.

you can either eat as it is or spread the breadcrumb mix over the top, stick under the grill till the breadcrumbs are browned (10 -15 mins)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Couscous Salad

serves 2, syn free on extra easy if you use your healthy A for the feta.

- Asda, Chosen by You Giant Couscous, Moroccan Style Sachet (free on extra easy)
- 100g Feta cheese cut into cubes
- chopped grilled chicken breast
- sliced cucumber
- handful of grapes
- handful of tomatoes
- chopped red pepper
- handful of chopped fresh coriander 

-Cook the couscous - follow pack instructions, whilst couscous is cooking cut the vegetables, feta and chicken into small chunks. When the couscous is cooked mix all the ingredients together.

For vegetarians this is equally nice without the chicken

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bang Bang Chicken

Serves 4, 1 and a half syns each

- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon reduced fat peanut butter
- 200ml chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon  soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pack of cooked chicken fillets ( I grilled mine)
- 1 pack of mange-tout
- 1 pack baby sweetcorn
- 1 red pepper
-  handful of coriander
- 6 spring onions
- vermicelli 10 ounces

- soak the vermicelli in warm water for 20 minutes to soften it.
- finely slice the baby sweetcorn, mange-tout, red pepper and spring onions, fry in frylight for five minutes
- meanwhile mix the peanut butter, chicken stock, soy sauce, lemon juice and the spices until they make a smooth mixture
- add the cooked chicken in with the vegetables, then add the vermicelli, finally pour the sauce over the food, mix well
- serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander on top

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Three Cheese Pasta with Broccoli

Serves 4, syn free if you include cheese as part of your healthy A.

- 10 oz chilli flavoured pasta
- 1 head of broccoli
- 30g low fat cheddar
- 1 cup of low fat chive cottage cheese
- 30g grated parmesan
- 1 veggie oxo cube
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper

- cook the pasta according to the instructions
- cut the broccoli into small pieces
- in a bowl mix the cottage cheese, eggs, spices and cheddar
- drain the pasta and put it into an oven dish, add the pasta and mix in the cheese and egg mix
- bake in the oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8 for 25 minutes, remove from oven sprinkle on the parmesan and return to the oven for five minutes
- serve with spicy meatballs

Spicy Meatballs

The eagle eyed amongst you might recognise this as the same recipe as the cheese and bacon burgers, minus the cheese.  I made these with the left over mix from making the burgers.

About half a syn for six large meatballs

- 500g extra lean mince
- 1 red pepper, chopped finely
- 6 spring onions
- handful of chopped coriander
- teaspoon chilli paste
- teaspoon ginger paste
- teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 rashers diced bacon
- 1 egg
- splash of  Worcester sauce

- spray a frying pan with fry light and fry the red pepper, spring onion, coriander and bacon until the bacon is cooked, pour the cooked mixture into a large mixing bowl
- add the mince, Worcester sauce, garlic, chilli, ginger and egg. Mix the ingredients well.
- shape into balls
- bake in the oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8 for 20 minutes

Friday, 3 May 2013

Cheese and Bacon Burger

Makes approximately six burgers, less than half a syn each, use small bread roll as HE B, use cheese as part of HE A. I served this with Paprika Sweet Potato Chips.

- 500g extra lean mince
- 1 red pepper, chopped finely
- 6 spring onions
- handful of chopped corriander
- teaspoon chilli paste
- teaspoon ginger paste
- teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 rashers diced bacon
- 5g mozzarella per a burger
- 1 egg
- splash of  Worcester sauce

- spray a frying pan with fry light and fry the red pepper, spring onion, coriander and bacon until the bacon is cooked, pour the cooked mixture into a large mixing bowl
- add the mince, Worcester sauce, garlic, chilli, ginger and egg. Mix the ingredients well.
- shape into patties (I use a biscuit cutter to get the shape and size right so that it will fit in the bun)
- poke a shallow dent in the middle of the burger and fill with the Mozzarella, cover over the top of the cheese with more of the burger mix.
- bake in the oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8 for half an hour

Paprika Sweet Potato Chips

Syn Free

- 1 sweet potato per a person cut into thick chips
- paprika
- garlic salt
-fry light

- spray the chips with fry light, sprinkle with paprika and garlic salt
- bake in oven at 220°C/ Gas Mark 8 for half an hour

Rumble Dumble (Indian Scrambled Egg)

This is a really nostalgic food for me, it transports me back to breakfast times as a kid. It's quick, easy and best of all has a silly name. It's a recipe my Mum picked up when my parents lived in India, in my opinion it is far nicer than boring old scrambled egg. Nicest served with fresh naan bread but if, like me, you haven't got a tandoor oven to hand it goes really nicely with toast.

Serves 2, 1 syn

- 2 large eggs
-handful of chopped corriander
- six sliced spring onions or a diced small onion
- a cup full of chopped tomatoes, can be baby tomatoes or sliced tomato
- teaspoon ginger paste
- teaspoon garlic paste
- teaspoon chilli paste ( 1 teaspoon is fairly mild)

- fry the onion, coriander and tomato for a minute
- add the eggs, ginger, garlic and chilli
- keep stirring the mix until the eggs are cooked