vendredi 4 mars 2016

Creamy bacon and mushroom spaghetti carbonara ( Slimming World friendly )

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This recipe is super quick and delicious, You only need a few ingredients to make this but just need to remember one important point ... keep a cup of pasta water!

Sounds odd I know but it is what makes the sauce so creamy and smooth. I now keep a empty cup in the colander so I remember before I drain the pasta to keep a cup of the pasta water.

This takes only a few minutes but gives you a creamy luscious sauce with no syns :)


  • 1 pack (200g) smoked bacon medallions (cut into strips)
  • 100g mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 tub quark
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pack dried spaghetti
  • low calorie spray oil
  • salt and pepper


Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water as instructions on pack and while this is cooking take a  frying pan sprayed with oil and fry the bacon and mushrooms together until cooked through.

Place the quark and eggs into a large jug and whisk together thoroughly (takes a little time but it does become smooth after a few minutes). Add 1 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt and whisk again.

Once cooked , Drain the spaghetti in a colander  ( PLEASE  remember to keep back a cup of the water the pasta was cooked in). Place the drained spaghetti back in the saucepan and add everything else in, The egg mixture, the cupful of pasta water and the bacon and mushrooms and mix everything together really well for a few minutes.

Serves 4 and is syn free :)

Creamy pepper sauce

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I LOVE pepper sauce with steak but its usually made with double cream and so definitely a no no but this recipe which I've made for years is really quick and easy and tastes delicious (if I say so myself!)

It's really good with chicken too and the best bit is you can control how peppery you like it. I start with half a teaspoon but you can always add more the same with the garlic you can use more or leave it out completely its the best part of home cooking is making it how you like it.

Creamy pepper sauce

250ml beef stock (from a cube is ok)
35g light philadelphia or low fat cream cheese  (plain or with garlic and herbs)
1 shallot or small onion (finely chopped)
low calorie spray oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper,
1 clove garlic (crushed - leave out if you don't want it too garlicky)


Take a small frying pan and spray with the spray oil, Add the chopped shallot or onion and fry over a low heat until it's softened.

Add the stock and garlic and pepper (if used) and bring to the boil then turn the heat down so its just simmering then slowly stir in the philadelphia and keep stirring until melted into the sauce.

Taste to see if need salt then season ,stir and let it simmer gently until thickened.

Serve immediately

Serves 2 generously at 1.5 syns per person.

Moroccan Chicken (Slimming World friendly)

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This is a super easy tasty dinner, It's a great one to make after work as it's so quick to make. I served it with rice but it would be good with cous cous too. Harissa paste is easily available in most supermarkets usually by the herbs and spices. I only used one tablespoon as I like it spicy but not too spicy but add more if you like it hotter also I used chicken thighs as I prefer them for flavour but feel free to use chicken breasts if you prefer.

Moroccan Chicken

  • 8 chicken thighs (cut into chunks all fat and skin removed)
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 2 peppers (sliced)
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)

  • low calorie spray oil

Spray a large frying pan or wok with spray oil and add the chicken. Cook for a few minutes over medium/high heat until starting to brown then add the peppers and onions and keep cooking for another few minutes until the onion starts to soften.

Add the harissa paste and stir well then add the chicken stock, tomatoes and tomato puree. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Add the chickpeas and cook for a few more minutes until heated through.

Serves 4 at 1/2 syn per portion

Crispy potato roses (Slimming World friendly)

I'm always looking for ways to jazz up plain meals and these potato roses are so simple to make but look and taste fab. I was making a potato boulangere and thought I could make little individual ones but then thought probably could make them without the stock just the potatoes and seasoning so I tried it and here they are.

I think they make a lovely change from jacket potatoes with a steak or chicken dinner. The important thing is to make the potato slices as thin as possible I use a mandoline for this you can pick them up pretty cheaply and they make it a lot less work. Sorry can't say exactly how many potatoes to use as it depends how big they are.
I called them potato roses as I thought they looked a bit like roses on the plate.
Try them they are easy!

Ingredients : 
Crispy potato roses
4-6 potatoes (peeled and sliced very thinly)low calorie spray oil1/2 tsp salt1/4 tsp pepper


Put the oven on gas 6 /200/400 , Place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and spray well with the spray oil then get your hands in and mix everything together very well.
Get a muffin tin and pack the potatoes into each 'well' pressing down lightly, You don't have to carefully layer them just put them in.
Spray the tops with spray oil and bake in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes until the tops are brown and crispy.

Syn free

SW Massaman beef and potato curry

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This is a really hearty warming dish, I make no claims for it's complete authenticity as had to change the recipe slightly to make it Slimming World friendly but it's meat and potatoes in a spicy sauce and very easy to make. You can get Massaman curry paste in some supermarkets I got mine from Sainsburys and have seen it in other places the syn value varies so check with Slimming World website syn values if you aren't sure the Sainsburys one is only 1/2 syn per tablespoon.

Coconut milk is high in syns too but 100ml is 4 1/2 syns and it freezes well so I get a 400ml can of light coconut milk and freeze it in 100ml portions in small plastic tubs so it's economical as well. The fish sauce used is a Thai ingredient you only need a small amount and again it's available in many supermarkets but if you can't get it you can leave it out.

Massaman beef and potato curry
  • 700g-1kg lean diced beef
  • 2 large onions (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp Massaman curry paste 
  • 100ml light coconut milk (see in notes above)
  • 4 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 bag baby spinach (washed)
  • 1 tbsp thai fish sauce
  • low calorie spray oil

Take a large ovenproof and hob safe casserole dish with a lid and place on the hob over a medium heat. Spray lightly with the oil and add the beef and onions and fry until the beef has slightly browned and the onions are soft. 
Add the Massaman curry paste and fry for a few moments then add the beef stock and coconut milk  stir well and bring to a boil. Put on the lid and place in the oven at Gas 5 /190/375 and cook for one hour.
Take out of the oven and place back on the hob over a medium heat (be very careful the dish is HOT !!)
Remove the lid and add the diced potatoes, stir well leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft then stir in the bag of spinach which looks like a lot but it wilts down quite quickly.
Add the fish sauce and taste in case needs a little more or if not using the fish sauce taste as you may need a little salt.

Serves 4 generously at 1.5 syns per person.

750ml beef stock

vendredi 29 janvier 2016

The singing swede !!




When I heard of people cooking a swede this way it sounded so bizarre I didnt think it would work but hey for 80p for a swede if it didnt work not got much to lose.

The simple answer is it works and works very well, The nickname 'the singing swede' apparently comes from the noise it makes in the microwave when cooking the swede its sort of whistles...very weird I know...and this is the easiest most basic thing I have ever posted I dont think it could even be called a recipe! You dont need to prick the swede or even wash it as you discard the skin.

Singing Swede

1 swede

Place swede in microwave for 15 minutes turning it over halfway through.


When cooked cut off the top and scrape out all the cooked swede and its done. (see picture for details)

I love that this is a super easy way to cook a vegetable no peeling, chopping, mashing its all done and I love plain swede with loads of black pepper as a side dish so enjoy and I know this is a bit of a daft post but was so pleased it worked thought worth sharing with everyone.

EDIT:  For my US friends a swede is known over with you as a rutabaga I believe xx

Nigellas Chicken Cosima

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This is another recipe taken from Nigella Lawsons new book 'Simply Nigella' I have adjusted it slightly to make it Slimming World friendly.

It's a really easy, quick and tasty dinner all in one pot and although there are some spices in this it's not spicy hot at all if you aren't keen on anything like that. I served it over some couscous to make it an even heartier meal.

You will need an ovenproof dish with a lid that you can use on the hob as well but if you only have an ovenproof dish you can start it in a large saucepan and then transfer it to the ovenproof dish for finishing in the oven.

It's called Chicken Cosima as it's named after her daughter who she invented the recipe for on the occasion of her daughters 21st birthday which I think is lovely.

Chicken Cosima

  • 6 chicken thighs (trimmed of fat and cut into chunks)
  • 500g sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into bite size chunks)
  • 2 cans chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach (washed)
  • 1 pint hot chicken stock (from a cube or stockpot is fine)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • low calorie spray oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Spray a large ovenproof dish or saucepan (see note above) with some spray oil and place on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, sprinkle with the salt and fry gently until soft but not browned.

Add the chicken thighs and fry for a few more minutes and then add the cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric. Stir well and add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas and the hot stock and bring to a boil.

Put on the lid and place in a medium oven for 25 minutes. (If you started it in a saucepan this is where you transfer it to a ovenproof dish)

Remove from the oven, Take off the lid and put in the spinach, stir well and put the lid back on and leave to stand for five minutes then add the pepper and stir gently.

I served this over some couscous as its got a lot of tasty broth with it.
Syn free on extra easy.

Nigellas spicy Korean beef bowl

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I know I'm a bit obsessed with Nigella Lawson new book 'Simply Nigella' and I'm making loads of the recipes but Slimming World friendly so look out in future weeks, This recipe was not only really easy to make but it was really tasty too my family really enjoyed it.

The chili sauce used is Sriracha and I found it in the ethnic foods aisle in ASDA but saw they had it yesterday in Marks & Spencer and its fabulous because its so tasty with chili and garlic you don't need to add any other spices or seasonings apart from the soy sauce which means you don't need to add any salt. The original recipe asks for short grain brown rice to be used but couldn't find any so used long grain brown rice and it was fine.

The measurements are in cups and I picked up measuring cups really cheaply in the supermarket but you can use a mug as a measure if you prefer.

Nigellas spicy Korean beef bowl

500g minced beef (less than 5% fat)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1  1/4 cups brown rice
1/4 cup (4 tbsps) sriracha sauce
1/4 cup (4 tbsps) soy sauce
1 bag beansprouts

Place the beef, rice, sriracha sauce, soy sauce and tomatoes in a slow cooker and rinse out the can with cold water and add that too. Mix everything together really well and then cook on low for 4 hours.

Put the beansprouts in a large bowl and pour a kettle of boiling water over them and leave for 1 minute then drain and add to the slow cooker and mix everything together very well, Put the lid back on and leave for 5 minutes then serve.

Serve 4 at 1/2 syn per portion

NOTE:  I made it in the slow cooker but Nigella says you can make it in a oven in a heavy based cast iron dish with a lid on and cook on Gas 4/180/350 for 2 - 2/12 hours and add the beansprouts the same way at the end.

Nigellas chicken shawarma

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This is another recipe I adapted from Nigella Lawson new book "Simply Nigella" and its absolutely  delicious. It's a really easy recipe just throw a few spices with the meat into a bag, leave to marinade all day or overnight and then oven cook. It's spicy but not 'blow your head off' spicy just nice heat but reduce the chili if you don't want it too hot the other spices just add flavour not heat.

 I know it seems like a lot of spices but if you make any of my recipes I do use a lot of spices and once you have paid for them you only use a tsp or so of most of them so they aren't that expensive most are less than a pound for a jar.

I served it with wholemeal pitta bread, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and a garlic yogurt sauce. My family really enjoyed it and I think it's going to be a regular dinner from now on. I have made it a few times now and often put everything in to marinade in the morning before work and then its ready to cook when I get in which makes it a quick, tasty after work dinner too.

Nigellas Chicken Shawarma

12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat)
2 lemons
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tsps paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried chili flakes (less if you don't like it too spicy)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
2 tsp sea salt

Get a large plastic freezer bag and place the chicken thighs in it. Grate the zest of the lemons into the bag and then squeeze the lemons and put the juice in the bag. Now add all the other ingredients and mix and squish everything really well till you can see through the bag all the chicken is coated with the marinade.

Place the bag in a dish in the fridge and leave to marinade all day or overnight.

Heat the oven to Gas 7/ 220/ 425 and take the chicken out of the fridge, Tip it all into a large roasting tin (I line with foil to save messy washing up) and make sure they are spread out lying flat.

Roast for 30 minutes and just check the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.

Serve in wholemeal pitta bread ( counts as a healthy extra) with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and the garlic yogurt sauce.

Garlic Yogurt sauce

1/2 large tub fat free greek yogurt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt

Mix everything together and taste in case needs more salt.

Serves 4-6 people and is Syn free on extra easy

Slimming world Nigellas Pasta alla Bruno

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Now it's a new year I have gone back to my obsession with Nigella Lawsons new book 'Simply Nigella' and adapting some of her recipes to make them Slimming World friendly. This dish is named after her son Bruno if you were wondering why it's called Pasta alla Bruno and was so easy to make it's definitely going on my quick after work dinner list. It is made is under 15 minutes total!

I used penne pasta for this but you could use any small shaped pasta really. The original recipe called for the cherry tomatoes to be quartered and although Nigella I love you I really didn't have time for that so they are halved.

Nigellas Pasta alla Bruno

200g dry pasta (like penne)
6-8 smoked bacon medallions (cut into strips)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (more if you like it hot)
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water according to the instructions and while its cooking start the sauce as it all cooks quite quickly.

Spray a large pan with some of the spray oil and fry the strips of bacon until cooked though then add the garlic, chili flakes and the tomatoes stir well and put the lid on for a few minutes stirring lightly now and then.

When the pasta is almost cooked but still firm take the pasta out of the water with a slotted spoon and put into the bacon and tomatoes taking a little of the pasta water each time this is what helps to make the light sauce.

When all the pasta is in the pan with the bacon and tomatoes  stir well, turn off the heat and put the lid on and leave for five minutes.

Season well with pepper and salt if you need it (might not because of the bacon) .
Serves 2  generously and is Syn free on extra easy

Nigellas sweet potato macaroni cheese

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This is proper comfort food so warming and filling and although its not syn free I have adapted the recipe to keep it as low syn as possible but keeping all the tastiness of the original recipe. The recipe serves 4 but you could easily make it serve 6 if served it with something like Slimming World sausages and vegetables.

Nigellas sweet potato and macaroni cheese

500g sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
300g dried macaroni
2 tbsp cornflour
500ml skimmed milk
1 tub quark
160g reduced fat cheddar cheese (grated)
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Preheat oven gas 6 /200/400. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil and add a tsp or two of salt once boiling add the sweet potato and cook for about 10 minutes then take out the sweet potato with a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl, Keep the water boiling and add the macaroni and stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked but still quite firm then drain in a colander.

Using a fork mash the sweet potato in the bowl till mashed but not pureed. Add the tub of quark, the cooked macaroni and 100g of the grated cheese and mix well.

In a saucepan place the milk and the cornflour and bring to the boil, Keeps whisking all the time until the sauce is thick and cook for a couple of minutes to lose the floury taste. Season with salt and pepper then add to the sweet potato, macaroni and cheese mixture and again mix together very well. Taste for seasoning  (I found it needs quite a lot of salt and pepper. )

Tip it all into a large casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining 60g of grated cheese on top and sprinkle on the quarter tsp paprika,

Place the casserole dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until browned and hot.

Serves 4 at 3.5syns per portion if using the cheese for your Healthy Extra.

BBQ saucy shredded chicken (Slimming World friendly)

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We all love BBQ pulled pork but did you know you can do the same with chicken? I prefer to call it shredded chicken pulled chicken sounds a bit odd to me but it's basically the same thing.

I use my BBQ cola sauce for this you can find that recipe here and I find it works really well, The chicken is so easy to make just put everything in the slow cooker and it's done in a few hours.

BBQ shredded chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 large onion (sliced)
BBQ cola sauce ( for the recipe for that click here )

Just place everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours , Take off the lid an hour before serving and turn up to high to let the sauce evaporate and thicken a bit.

Take two forks and simply shred the chicken and mix well with the sauce.

Serve 4 and is syn free