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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Skinny Smokie Pie

Smokies are traditionally smoked fish (normally haddock), tomtoes & spring onions mixed together with creme fraiche and gratinated in the oven.
My skinny version has far more character, seriously lower in calories and saturated fat and becomes an entire meal when served with a leafy salad with a lemon & balsamic dressing. It  also follows our mantra of quick and easy. Traditionally pies have shortcrust or puff pastry which is severly calorific - this one just has a thin, crisp layer of filo on the bottom.




Ingredients
Serves 4
2 sheets of filo pastry ( shop bought)
300g cod
200g smoked haddock/coley
12/15 vine cherry tomatoes
8 spring onions
1 tbsp brandy
1/2 fish stock cube
300ml slimline milk
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp tomato puree
50ml avonmore cooking cream (low fat alternative)
50g grated low fat kilmeadan cheddar

Method
  1. Preheat the oven. Quarter the tomatoes, thinly slice the spring onions, grate the cheese, cut the fish into 2cm cubes.
  2. Layer the filo pastry into the pie/quiche dish - putting a spritz of spray oil between each layer. Set aside.
  3. Warm the milk in a small saucepan. Pop in the fish, keep it on a medium heat and poach for about 4 - 5 mins. Remove the fish using a slotted spoon.
  4. Bake the filo pastry in the oven for 5 -7 mins.
  5. As it bakes, heat 1 tsp rapeseed/olive oil in a frying pan.Saute the spring onion & tomatoes for about 3/4 mins.Add in the fish and then 1 brandy. Allow the alcohol to burn off from the brandy, then stir in the mustard, tomato puree and cream. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, add in some of the poaching liquid little by little if required.
  6. Remove the pastry base from the oven - pour in the creamy fish mixture, top with the grated cheese and bake for 15 - 20mins.
  7. Allow to cool a little before serving and enjoy with an organic leaf salad or some steamed brocolli with low fat garlic butter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy Thai Red Lentil Soup

The weather is geting frosty and I seem to be getting busier by the day so I am looking for really quick & easy lunch recipes. There is a fab red lace dress with my name on it for Christmas so being really good for the next couple of weeks is so important. I find myself getting bored with soup quickly so I have begun just making small 1 or 2 batch serving.

Yesterday was Potato & Leek ( Its too simple to even do a recipe - Heat 1 tsp oil in a small saucepan - add in 1 leek thinly sliced, 1/2 potato finely diced, 1 chicken stock cube & pinch of pepper. Allow to simmer for 20mins, blitz and add 1 tsp avonmore cooking cream when reheating)

Today, its Spicy Thai Red Lentil Soup

There is such a temptation to complicate this soup however the joy of it is that it only has 6 ingredients and takes 20mins to cook. Store the remaining curry paste in the fridge and with the leftover 300ml of coconut milk divide it between two freezer bags, freeze and use in a curry at a later stage.

This soup is very low in fat and high in fibre which means it will keep you full for longer. There is no need for bread or a carb with this soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and are associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and maintaining steady blood sugar levels (great for any one suffering from or at risk of diabetes)

Ingredients
Serves 2
100g red lentils
1/2 onion
1 tsp olive oil / donegal rapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp thai red curry paste
1 chicken stock cube
100ml reduced fat coconut milk (1/4 tin )

Method
  1. Peel & dice the onion.
  2. Heat the oil, saute the onion for a minute or two. If it starts to stick add a drop of water.
  3. Then add in the lentils & stir in the thai red curry paste.
  4. Pour in 400ml chicken stock.
  5. Allow to simmer for 20 / 30mins.
  6. Remove from the heat, pour in the coconut milk and blitz.
  7. To add a little pizazz grate over some lime zest and garnish with a little red chilli.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teriyaki Salmon with Stir Fry Brown Rice

This Japanese inspired dish is so quick and simple. The salmon is full of the essential GOOD fatty acids - Omega 3, easily digested proteins and minerals like selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Selenium is an interesting one as salmon is one of its best sources. It  is necessary for building up of tissues, hair, nails etc. When combined with the other elements in salmon ( Omega 3, Vitamin A & D ) it is linked with regulating metabolisms, can act as an anti depressant and increase the efficiency of the brain. All the brightly coloured vegetables contribute to a healthy immune system for these winter months and as this dish is rapidly stirfried alot of the valuable anti - oxidants are retained. The Tilda wholegrain basmati rice is rich in B group vitamins, provides fibre and a little will keep you feeling full until bed time. This recipe calls for cooked rice - I normally cook a large pot and then freeze in batches. Seriously handy and saves so much time. Teriyaki can be bought in all supermarkets nowadays.

Ingredients

4/6 tbsp teriyaki marinade
1/2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tbsp seasame oil
2 120g organic salmon fillets
120g cooked brown rice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red, green & yellow pepper
1 courgette
1 carrot
1 red onion
2 large handfuls of spinach
Handful of onion seeds

Method
  1. Marinade the salmon fillets in the teriyaki sauce. In an ideal world this would be done the night before or a few hours in advance. 15 mins will be fine.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables by washing first. Using a vegetable peeler prepare the carrot and courgette into ribbons.
  3. Peel the onion and cut into semi circles. Deseed the peppers and thinly slice.
  4. Preheat the grill. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on a tray under the grill. Drizzle a little teriyaki over the salmon and turn after 5 mins.
  5. Heat the wok - when hot add in the oil. Stirfry the onion and garlic, add in the peppers. Cook for 5 mins. Then add in the ribbons of carrot  and courgette. After another 5 mins add in the wholegrain basmati rice. Pour over the remaining teriyaki marinade. Cook for another 3 mins.
  6. At this stage the salmon will have been turned and be skin side up. Turn off the grill. Turn off the stirfry vegetables and rice. Stir in the spinach.
  7. On a warm plate spoon the stirfry rice and vegetables. Place the salmon on top and sprinkle with some onion seeds.

 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Beetroot and Carrot Soup

This is a beautiful soup that will warm you right up after a long day or perfect as an energy boost mid way through your busy day. It is so simple to pull together and well worth the little effort required. Beetroot is in season at the moment so it is in all the shops and is cheap to boot. It is a Superfood because it is packed full of the antioxidant Betacyanin which fights against various cancers and is fantastic for your immune system which is important at this time of year when it is easy to feel so run down. Beetroot is loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. Beetroots are naturally high in Sodium so you won't need to add any salt in this recipe.You can buy it raw from supermarkets, in which case you will need to wash it, remove the stalks and then boil or microwave in some water for 10 minutes. I bought cooked whole beetroot in a vacuum pack which works perfectly in this recipe and is so much easier! A bowl of this soup averages out at just 135Kcal so it is the perfect winter warmer to leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Ingredients
(Serves 6)
1 x 400g pack of cooked Beetroot
1 Onion
2 Medium Carrots
3 Stalks of Celery
3 Medium Potatoes
3 Tsp Mixed Herbs
1 Bay Leaf
1 Bouquet Garni ( can be bought in tea leaf form in all supermarkets)
700ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 Tbsp Creme Fraiche
Fresh Parsley
1 Tsp Pepper
2 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Glass of Water

Method

1. To begin wash and chop all of the vegetables. Try to keep the potatoes, celery, beetroot and carrots a similar size so that they will all cook at the same pace.
2. Heat the oil in a large sauce over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes until they have softened.
3. Add the beetroot, potatoes, pepper, mixed herbs, stock and cold water. Bring this to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for one hour. Add the bouquet garni and bay leaf at this stage.
4. To blend together pour the soup into a blender or food processor until smooth. If the soup is too thick at this point simple add some boiling water until you reach the consistency you desire.
5. To serve garnish with fresh parsley and creme fraiche. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crispy Duck Breast in a Blackberry Sauce with Celeriac Mash

This is a perfect dish for those winter nights that are creeping in on us. It is hearty, delicious and a little fancy to impress any dinner guests you may have! Duck can be quite a fatty meat, however the way it is cooked in this meal ensures that the excess fat is thoroughly drained and leaves you with a lean and beautifully crisp and succulent piece of meat. I have made the sauce before with fresh stoned cherries which work very well, yet as they are not in season at the mo blackberries work very well and can still be found in shops. Celeriac is really easy to work with for those of you who may not be familiar with this veg. Its makes a gorgeous mash with a twist, we all went for seconds!
Ingredients
(Serves 2)
2 Duck Breasts
1 Shallot
2 Tsp Unrefined Brown Sugar
1 Small Punnet of Fresh Blackberries
1/2  Glass of Port
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Celeriac
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Tbsp Creme Fraiche
Salt & Pepper


Method 
Blackcurrant Sauce:
1. Finely chop the shallots. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and soften the shallots over a medium heat.
2. Add the Port, Balsamic vinegar, blackberries and sugar. You can chop the blackberries or leave them whole depending on the consistency you like. Bring this sauce to a rapid boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
3. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes until reduced and thickened. If you like a smooth sauce, liquidise it at this stage.
Duck Breasts:
1. In the spirit of SkinnyLovesFood trim off any excess fat on the duck breasts. To cook these in  a healthy way but to keep the taste I like to use the George Foreman grill. This method cooks the duck breasts evenly and lets the skin crisp up perfectly. It also does the obvious by draining all of the fat from the breasts. Nothing wrong with keeping the duck fat for your roast potatoes on a Sunday when your having a day off from being good!
2. Heat the grill for at least 5 minutes before cooking the breasts, it needs to be at its hottest so that the skin crisps immediately. Score the top of the skin and season with salt & pepper to ensure a crispy finish. The duck only takes 7-8 minutes on the George Foreman, depending on how pink you like them.
Celeriac Mash:
1. Peel and wash the celeriac and potatoes. Chop up into even sized cubes and add to a saucepan of boiling water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes or so until soft throughout. Drain the celeriac and potatoes once cooked and return to a very low heat.
2. With a masher, mash the celeriac and potato together. Stir in Salt, pepper and the creme fraiche. If it is too dry add in a little skimmed milk at this point. 
To serve place the celeriac mash in the centre of the plate with the duck breast. Pour the sauce over the dish and enjoy!     

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sundried Tomato, Mozzarella & Pesto Stuffed Chicken

This is a delicious easy recipe that is super quick to russle up. It can be prepared in under 10 minutes, and while cooking gives you time to relax with a cheeky glass of vino or catch up on any thing you need to. I have served it with roasted vegetables but it will go with most accompaniments, such as cous cous, green salad etc. It can be prepared in advance and refrigerated which makes it ideal when you have friends coming over. The filling is light but full of flavour and the breadcrumbs are made using wholemeal breadcrumbs which need no butter keeping the calorie count down. I add dried herbs to breadcrumbs which add extra flavour and cuts out the need for salt. I sometimes add thin strips of chorizo to the stuffing which does add to the calorie content, but a few thin strips won't make a huge difference and really adds to the flavour!
Ingredients
2 Chicken fillets
4 Sun-dried Tomatoes
2 Tbsp of SkinnyLoves Pesto ( see May recipe )
100g Brown Bread Breadcrumbs
5 Slices of Light Mozzarella
4 Thin strips of Chorizo
1 Egg
50g Flour


Method
1. Slice the chicken fillets through the middle, being careful not to slice through all the way, and open out as flat as possible.
2. Spread the pesto down the middle of each fillet. On top of this add the sliced sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and chorizo.
3. Fold the chicken fillets over . In order to keep the filling in place you will need to secure the sides by using cocktail sticks to keep everything in place.
4. Put the flour into a bowl and add 1 tbsp of dried herbs. Crack 1 egg onto a plate and break up with a fork.
5. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate and add another dash of dried herbs and mix. 
6. Roll the the chicken fillets in the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip the chicken directly in the egg. The chicken should then be rolled in the breadcrumbs and placed in a baking tray.
7. Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes until cooked through in a moderate oven, at 180C.


    

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chicken Sweet n Sour

Yum, Yum, Yum. This recipe has all the flavour and none of the stodge, artificial colours and calories of this take away classic.
There are two alternatives with this recipes - the extremely virtuous version where poached chicken is used. Or the slightly more delectable - ever so slightly - bolder version where the chicken is quickly fried in a light, crisp tempura style batter.

Ingredients
Serves 2
2 chicken fillets / equivalent leftover roast chicken
1/2 green, red and yellow pepper
4 spring onions
4 cloves garlic
1 red chili
1/2 tin pineapples
1/4 butternut squash / 1 carrot
Handful mange tout
2 tsp corn flour
4 dsp tamari/soy sauce
juice from tinned pineapple
2 tsp tomato ketchup / puree
3 dsp cornflour
100ml cold water
1/2 chicken stock cube
1tbsp rapeseed/olive oil
120g tilda wholegrain rice



Method
  1. Boil a pot of water and cook the wholegrain rice for 35 - 45mins.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes. De seed and dice the peppers into large chunks. De seed and thinly slice the red chili. Peel and dice the garlic. Slice the spring onions.
  3. If not using leftover chicken poach and cut the chicken into large chunks. Alternatively heat 1 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil and fry gently until cooked. Remove from the pan.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the wok. Fry the chili, garlic and spring onion for 30seconds. Add the butternut squash. Pour in a couple of tbsp of water, place a lid on top and allow to steam for 3-4 mins.

  1. Heat 500ml of vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Mix together the cornflour and water.
  2. Add the peppers to the pan and allow to cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Then add in the pineapple chunks. Stir the corn flour into the pineapple juice. Add this along with the tomato puree and tamari (soy sauce).Crumble in the stock cube. Gradually add 100mls cold water. Allow to simmer for 5 mins while the chicken cooks.
  4. Dip the chicken chunks in the batter mix and place in the hot oil. Toss in the oil after about 1 minute. Cook for about 3/4 mins in total. Remove, drain really well on kitchen paper and season with a pinch of salt.
  5. To serve, spoon some rice on the plate, then the sweet n sour and top with the crispy chicken.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lemon, Vanilla & Blueberry Pancakes



This is a simple easy and deliciously tasty weekend breakfast treat that won't leave you feeling sluggish for the day. It's crazy easy to whip together and can even be made the night before & refrigerated. So it's ready to fry up in the morning, or afternoon if your having that cheeky lazy lie in we all crave! The pancakes here are made with whole wheat flour which will not leave you with that bloated feeling refined white flour can very often do. The lemon and vanilla add a natural sweetness which makes these pancakes so hard to resist!
Whole wheat flours are more nutritious because they contain most of the vitamins lost when making white flour. They are also higher in fiber which we know to be great for digestion. The germ contains some fat and most of the vitamins, while the bran layer is mostly fiber. Because of the higher fat content, whole wheat flour doesn’t keep as well or long as white flour. 
The recipe below makes 5-6 thin crepe like pancakes

Ingredients
150g Whole Wheat Flour
1 full Egg plus 1 Egg white
200ml Slimline Milk 
2 to 3 tbsp Water if needed
Zest of Half a Lemon
Half Punnet of Fresh Blueberries
Half Tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

Method 
1. Place the eggs, flour, milk, and salt into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Grate the lemon zest in and add the vanilla extract. Mix with a spoon.
3. If the mixture is too thick add in a little water to thin.
4. The batter works best after resting in the fridge, best left overnight but an hour will do or even straight away if you cant wait! 
5. Fry the pancakes over a medium heat as thin or thick as you like.
6. Serve with fresh blueberries, a cheeky drizzle of Maple Syrup and Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Most Virtuous Salad

This salad is the most virtuous, wholesome, healthy salad ever !!!!! It is so good for you on so many levels. The base for this salad is a combination of brown rice and green lentils. These are both high fibre, wholegrain protein foods which have a low g.i . This means this salad will keep you full for a long time as the energy will be released slowly. The avocado has essential fats, vitamins A & E and a high proportion of fibre. The chicken is poached and as a result is an excellent source of lean protein.

This salad is ultra adaptable - ingredients can be substitued for others depending on personal preference or simply what is in the salad drawer.

There are 2 dressings suitable for this salad or again feel free to experiment - perhaps a balsamic dressing or honey mustard dressing.

Serves 2
30g green lentils
30g brown rice
1 chicken fillet
1/2 avocado
1/4 red onion
1 - 11/2 tomatoes
1/4 red, green & yellow pepper
1 chicken stock cube
Handful fresh chopped parsley & chives
2 boiled egg whites
Handful of fresh spinach leaves
Optional: Low fat feta, steamed brocolli

Dressings
Curry Dressing
3 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
1 tbsp low fat mayo
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mango chutney

Basil & Goats Cheese Dressing
3 tbsp skinny basil pesto ( see previous recipe)
1 tsp soft goats cheese
1 tsp 0% fat natural yoghurt

Method
  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add in the brown rice and lentil and boil for 30 - 40 mins until they become tender but still with a little bite.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add in the stock cube and chicken fillet, turn down to a medium heat and poach for 20 mins. When cooked, remove from the water, allow to cool and shred.
  3. Hard boil 2 eggs. Place the eggs into a pot of boiling water and boil rapidly for 10mins. Remove from the water and place in a bowl of cold water to cool down. Shell, set aside the yolk and chop into large chunks.
  4. Turn on the grill. Place the segments of peppers under a hot grill until they char and the skin goes black (5-10mins). When blackened wrap them in clingfilm. This will cause them to sweat and then just rub/peel off the skin and what remains are gorgeous, tender roast peppers. Cut into small dice.
  5. Peel and dice the avocado and red onion. Deseed and dice the tomato. Chop the fresh herbs.
  6. To make the curry dressing : combine 3 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt, 1 tbsp low fat mayo, 1 tsp mango chutney and 2 tsp curry powder. If you find this too thick, stir in a little of the remaining chicken stock. Some fresh coriander leaves will really lift this dish.
  7. To make the basil & goats cheese dressing : combine 3 tbsp skinny basil pesto, 1 1/2 tsp soft goats cheese and 1 tbsp natural yoghurt.
  8. Now just assemble, place the lentils and rice in a bowl, toss through the avocado, onion, tomato, shredded chicken, peppers and egg whites. Coat in the dressing. Add a little oil ( Irish rapeseed or olive oil ) if the dressing is too thick.
  9. Place some fresh spinach leaves in the base of the serving bowl, place the grain salad on top and sprinkle over with the fresh herbs . To be a little extra indulgent and I do recommend it - crumble over some egg yolk. Yum.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spinach, Bacon, Avocado & Wholemeal Pesto Pasta Salad

This recipe is a take on a rather traditional salad.  When eating a salad it is very easy to believe we are being extremely virtious however they can be ladened down with stodgy carbs and fattening creamy dressings. The full fat version of this salad would be very unforgiving however this version is just perfect - all the indulgence and none of the guilt.  The wholemeal pasta (just 30g per person) adds a wholesome, filling carbohydrate which makes this salad a complete and filling main meal. The avocado gives us essential good fats which our body needs. They can be high in calories hence only 1/4 per serving however with their creamy silky texture this is ample. In relation to the cheddar cheese I am loving Kilmeadan Light Cheddar at the moment. One of the best on the market. The sun-blushed tomato recipe is here on the blog already and is so simple but if you don't fancy that feel free to use cherry or buffalo tomatoes. (A little depth of flavour is required )

P.S. I am so sorry there is no visual here - my camera and I are having a bit of a row at the moment and my camera is refusing to upload the photo. I promise i will have it sorted ASAP.

Ingredients
Serves 2

120g baby spinach leaves
1/2 red onion
1/2 ripe avocado
40g reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 low fat rashers
60g (dried) wholemeal organic pasta (any shape)
12 sun blushed tomatoes
2 dsp skinny basil pesto (see previous recipes)
2 dsp extra virgin olive oil

Method
  1. Boil a small pot of water. Cook the pasta for 15 - 20mins until tender or al dente.
  2. Wash & dry spinach leaves. Thinly slice the onion. Peel and cut the avocado into large chunks.
  3. Grate the cheese. Grill the rashers and thinly slice.
  4. Drain the pasta, and allow to cool. (to speed up the process - pop it in the fridge)
  5. When cool stir in the pesto and olive oil.
  6. Now, to assemble. Toss the spinach leaves and pesto pasta together.
  7. Place in serving bowls and top with onion, avocado, bacon and cheddar cheese.
  8. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smoked Mackerel Dip

This is a delicious dip that can be used as a spread, in salads, wraps and sandwiches. If your not  a big fan of mackerel just substitute for poached or smoked salmon, or cooked chicken. Mackerel is bursting full of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA's). EFA's can not be  manufactured by the body so its important to try and incorporate them in the diet where possible. They are needed for a whole range of functions in the body including cell repair, and maintaining a healthy reproductive, nervous and cardiovascular system. Thats enough science for now, the main thing is this is tasty, super healthy and so quick to blitz together.

Ingredients
2 Smoked Mackerel Fillets
1 Tbsp of Creme Fraiche
1 Tbsp of Light Philadelphia
Salt & Pepper to season
Juice of half a small Lemon
Few sprigs of fresh parsley or dill

Method
1. Roughly chop up the mackerel and dill.
2. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Leave chunky if you prefer.
3. Taste and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Spaghetti with Prawns in a Creamy White Wine Sauce with Skinny Loves Garlic Bread


This recipe is so delicious and and all of the ingredients can be substituted for whatever is in your fridge on the day. The prawns can be swapped for chicken, turkey or smoked salmon. I have used courgettes and mange tout here as they are in season and bursting with flavour at this time of year but even frozen peas from the freezer will work perfectly. I like to use Bunalun Organic Wholegrain Spaghetti, its priced very reasonably and is great quality. Wholegrain spaghetti (9gm) has 3 times as much fibre content as white spaghetti(3gm), thus leaving you feeling fuller for longer, and great for your digestion.I favour Knorr reduced salt stock cubes with no added MSG, keeping the sodium content down. If you want to be tee total you can leave the white wine out, but a little drop never hurt anybody!
  
Ingredients
Serves 2
200g Wholegrain Spaghetti
3 Spring Onions
Handful of Mangetout
1 Courgette
10-12 Prawns
300ml Chicken/Fish Stock
Half Glass White Wine
1 Tbsp Creme Fraiche
2 Tbsp Extra / Light Philadelphia
1 Tsp Fresh or Dried Mixed Herbs
3 Cloves of Garlic
Salt & Pepper to season


Skinny Loves Garlic Bread
1 Wholemeal Pitta Bread
1 Tbsp Low-fat Spread
2 Cloves of Garlic
Chopped Fresh Parsley


Method
1. Start by preparing all of the vegetables. Finely dice the garlic and slice the spring onions. Slice the courgette into thin strips. No need to chop or slice the mange tout, can leave as is.
2. Fill a saucepan 3/4 full with water, add a tsp of salt and bring to boil. The wholegrain spaghetti takes a few minutes longer to cook than regular pasta so add the spaghetti once the water has come to the boil, takes appx 10-12 minutes to reach al dente.
3. Put a few drops of olive oil into a wok or frying pan on a medium heat, add the courgettes and spring onions first. Once softened add the garlic. 
4. Gently sautee for 2-3 minutes before adding the white wine. Let the white wine reduce by at least half.
5. Pour in the stock and heat through. Then add the creme fraiche and philadelphia and stir until you have a creamy white sauce. 
6. Stir in the prawns and mange tout and heat through. 
7. Season with salt & pepper, ( very little salt will be needed due to the stock) and mixed herbs. If you like a kick to your food you could add some dried chilli flakes at this stage.
8. Drain the spaghetti and arrange on plates. Pour the white wine and prawn sauce over the pasta and enjoy!


Garlic Bread
This is so easy and tasty you'll be making these to go with everything, great for mopping up sauces!
1. Preheat the oven to 180, Gas mark 5.
2. Mix together the finely diced garlic, butter and parsley in a bowl, best done with a  fork.
3. Slice through the pitta bread, opening out and separating the two sides. 
4. Spread the garlic butter over the two sides and cut into triangles.
5.Pop the triangles into the oven for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Keep an eye on these as they can burn very quickly.
  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quesidallas

This dish is so easy to make after a long day at work, and can be easily adapted, depending on whats in your fridge.Its seriously quick and can feed up to 4 people when served with roasted sweet potatoes and side salad, or whatever you fancy. To keep the calories down and the fibre content up, thus keeping you full for the evening, wholemeal tortillas are ideal and don't alter the flavour at all.The beauty of this dish is that it can be eaten hot as a part of dinner, cold as a snack the next day in work or glammed up served in slices as a starter. This dish is bursting with flavours, and will be one to try!
  
Italian inspired Quesidallas

        Ingredients
        2 Wholemeal flour Tortillas
        1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
        1 Tbsp Passata
        1 Tbsp Greeen / Red Pesto
        30g Grated Low fat Cheddar
        30g Mozzarella Light
        3-5 Thinly sliced Chorizo pieces
        Handful of fresh Rocket and Basil leaves
                                                 
Method

1. Mix together the tomato puree, passata and pesto.
2. Warm the tortillas in a moderate preheated oven for 3-4 minutes.
3. Once the tortillas have been warmed up simply spread the tomato and pesto mixture on both. Sprinkle a little cheese and chorizo over one of the tortillas. At this point you can add any other ingredients you choose, such as peppers, olives, sliced mushrooms etc. Sandwich the two tortillas together forming the quesadilla, you can leave the toppings to the top to crisp up or between the two tortillas.
4. Traditionally this is then fried, however to keep things light and low in cholesterol it works perfectly in the oven. So simply place the quesadilla in the oven for 10 minutes to heat through and crisp up nicely.
5. Once out of the oven decorate the top with fresh rocket, basil leaves and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, a drop of olive oil and enjoy!






Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken Satay

Take-out, for me is all about chicken satay. It is my ultimate favourite. On a cookery course in Bali I learned a delicious recipe for chicken satay. Traditionally, satay is meat on a stick. It is a minced chicken and spice mixture on a bamboo stick and then gridled, however this recipe is much quicker, convenient and user friendly.
This recipe will save you a fortune, rescue your body from that dreadful MSG and save you hundreds of calories.
Ok so I know it looks like a massive amount of ingredients but it’s not really and, a lot of ingredients for the satay sauce, you will have in your store cupboard for months. I have packed it with loads of fresh vegetables in order to get our vitamins and anti-oxidants and boost our immune systems. Also if you want to be extra healthy – you can use whole wheat soba noodles.

Ingredients
Serves 2
  • 2 chicken fillets ( 4 chicken thighs off the bone) thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch soba noodles
  • 1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced diagonally
  • ½ green pepper thinly sliced
  • ½ red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • Mushrooms thinly sliced
  • Handful frozen peas / mange tout
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup water
  • Handful of chopped coriander (optional)
Satay Marinade
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • ½ red/green chilli – finely diced
  • ½ cm fresh ginger ( ½ tsp powder ginger)
  • 4 spring onions diagonally sliced
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp wholefood peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper
Method
  1. To begin, prepare the marinade. Ok, heres the hard part – PUT ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN A BOWL AND STIR!!!!! Yep, that’s it. Add in the strips of chicken, allow to marinade for about 20mins (if possible 24 hours).
  2. Prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Boil a saucepan of water for the noodles. Cook according to the packet instructions.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, when hot add in the chicken, stir-fry for 3 or 4 mins until a little brown.
  5. Add in the vegetables, chicken stock cube and water little by little and simmer away for 20 mins.
  6. Mix the noodles through the chicken satay, garnish with chopped coriander.
  7. Serve and enjoy with a small beer.

Salmon & Crabclaws with a Creamy Spinach Sauce

This dish is fab, a little bit of a treat in a way as prawns and crabclaws can be quite expensive. Also is is not one of my lowest fat creations. However it ticks all the boxes and is ultra satisfying. The salmon is great for a little natural omega 3 and the spinach gives a little boost to our iron intakes. I hope you love it . x




Serves 2
Ingredients
2 x 120g salmon fillets
8 prawns / crabclaws
400g spinach
2 cloves garlic
2 dessertspoons weight watcher reduced fat thick cream
100mls slim line milk
50mls white wine
½ fish stock cube
2 tsp dried/fresh dill
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 medium (120g) sized potatoes

Method
 Preheat oven to 200oC. Wrap the potatoes in tin foil and bake for 45mins. Season the salmon. Dice the garlic.
 After 30 minutes, spritz another oven tray with 3 shots of spray oil. Place the salmon on the tray (skin side down) and bake in oven for 12 -15mins.
 Using a non stick pan – heat and place in the garlic and spinach. Add 4 tbsp of water. Put on a lid and allow spinach to steam for about 2/3 minutes until the spinach has wilted. Remove and set aside.
 Using the same non stick pan, add in the prawns/crabclaws, cream, milk, stock, dill and wine. Season with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Be careful not to add too much salt as the stock will already have added some flavour.
 Allow the sauce to bubble and thicken slightly, then return spinach to the pan and stir for 3/4 minutes.
 To serve – place the creamy spinach on the bottom of the plate and sit the fillet of salmon on top. Serve the baked potato on the side. Enjoy


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Skinny Basil Pesto

I honestly cannot express how sensational this really is !! Be warned !!!
 
This pesto is uber healthy as it only uses 1 tbsp olive oil / rapeseed oil for the entire jar. In addition to this pisctachio's are used instead of pine nuts as they have a lower calorific content and are higher in fibre. A little hard cheese such as parmesan goes along way in this too.

1 whole fresh basil plant (enough to fill a mug & half)
1 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
2 tbsp cold water
40g grated parmesan
30g shelled pistachio nuts
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
2 cloves of garlic (roughly diced)

Method
Just one step here - Blitz in a food processor and try not to devour it all immediately !!!!!
Store in an air tight or preserve jar. The colour will change a little, darken on the surface. This is fine, still tastes beautiful and will hold for about 3 - 5 days.
 
 

Tomato, Mozzerella & Basil Tart

Tarts and pies are some of the most delicious and comforting foods; however, they can be loaded with calories and saturated fat from meats, sauces and oodles of butter in the pastry. My skinny version is the exact opposite. The basis for this tart is filo pasrty (shop bought) which has such little fat when compared to puff pastry or even short crust. The filling for the tart  are ripe, plump, vine tomatoes along with some low fat mozzerella. The ball of low fat mozzerella again gives a much lower fat content than traditional or even worse, processed grated mozzerella. The pesto is my own skinny pesto recipe which can be found here on the blog. This pesto is uber healthy as it only uses 1 tbsp olive oil/rapeseed oil for the entire jar. In addition to this pisctachio's are used instead of pine nuts as they have a lower calorific content and are higher in fibre.A little hard cheese such as parmesan goes along way on top too.  This dish is perfect for a light lunch or starter or even better a summer picnic. Also, it taste just as good cold as warm and even better the next day. 
As a little tip - defrost the filo pastry in the fridge not out at room temperature. If defrosted at room temperature it goes very flaky and breaks very easily. Feel free to drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the top when serving.

Ingredients
Serves 4
2 large sheets filo pastry
4/5 large tomatoes
1 ball low fat mozzerella
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar/glaze
30g grated parmesan
4/6 heaped tbsp skinny basil pesto

Skinny Pesto
I honestly cannot express how sensational this really is !! Be warned. 

1 whole fresh basil plant (enough to fill a mug & half)
1 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
2 tbsp cold water
40g grated parmesan
30g shelled pistachio nuts
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
2 cloves of garlic (roughly diced)

Method
Just one step here - Blitz in a food processor and try not to devour it all immediately !!!!!


Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC.
  2. Spritz a 7" loose bottom metal flan/tart tin with spray oil.
  3. Layer in the filo pastry - if it rips/tears don't panic - just patch it in and give a little spritz of spray oil to hold down the layers. Pop in the oven for 10 mins (or until you get everything ready)
  4. Cut the tomatoes into long slices (remove any green core pieces)
  5. Coat in a little balsamic and allow to sit for a few mins.
  6. Cut the mozzerella into long slices.
  7. Remove the pastry base from the oven.
  8. Spread the pesto on the base. 
  9. Starting from the middle layer the tomatoes down in a circular shape.
  10. Place the slices of mozzerella in between the tomatoes.
  11. Crack a very small amt (1/4 tsp) black pepper over the top.
  12. Turn the oven down to 180oC. Bake in the oven for 40mins.Ten minutes before the end - remove from the oven & sprinkle over the grated parmesan.
  13. Allow to cool a little and serve with a drizzle of skinny pesto. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Skinny Duck Rice Paper Rolls

Skinny duck rice paper rolls are a low fat alternative (with serious calorie & fat content saving) to those from the local Chinese. The calorie saving comes in many forms - the duck is roast and all fat is removed and discarded, the rice paper rolls are so light as they can be served "raw" or baked  but not deep fried.
Now to explain - there are 2 ways to prepare and serve these. They can take the form of duck pancakes served with spring onions, cucumber and hoi sin sauce where the rice paper acts like the pancake. Alternatively they can be created like spring rolls where they are filled, baked in the oven and served warm.
The folding is not that tricky. Have patience and follow the simple instructions below. A great tip is to roll  very tightly but not so tightly that they will tear. Another big plus  - they can be made in advance and enjoyed later either cold or warm.

Serves 2 for light lunch/starter

Ingredients

Rice Paper Rolls
1 duck breast
4 tbsp hoi sin sauce
6/8 rice paper rolls
1/2 carrot
4cm cucumber
3 spring onions
handful fresh coriander (if desired)

Spring Rolls
1 duck breast
4 tbsp hoi sin sauce
1/2 carrot
1/4 red pepper
3 spring onions
small handful beansprouts
small handful fresh coriander (totally optional)

Method

Rice Paper Rolls
  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas 8. Score ( cut lines ) in the fat of the duck and season with lots of salt.
  2. Place on an oven tray and bake for 35 mins. ( Be prepared for some smoke - this is the fat burning. To reduce this drain the fat from the dish twice during cooking. )
  3. Prepare the vegetables - wash the cucumber, cut down lenghtways. Using a tsp scoop out the flesh. Thinly slice. Thinly slice the spring onions lenghtways. Peel, top & tail and thinly slice the carrot.
  4. When the duck is cooked remove from the  oven. Remove the fat and discard. Thinly slice the duck.
  5. Fill a pyrex bowl with warm water. Soak a rice paper sheet for 1 min until soft.
  6. Remove from the bowl, lay on some kitchen paper to drain. Lay flat on a plate.
  7. Smear some hoi sin sauce along the rice paper wrapper at a diagonal (from bottom left to top right). Lay down the strips of duck along this line. Sprinkle over a little coriander (optional)
  8. Now to fold:, pick up the bottom right corner and tuck it tightly over the duck.Fold in the 2 far corners sticking out and then roll up.
  9. Serve with the thin strips of cucumber, spring onion, carrot and a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Spring Rolls
  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas 8. Score ( cut lines ) in the fat of the duck and season with lots of salt.
  2. Place on an oven tray and bake for 35 mins. ( Be prepared for some smoke - this is the fat burning. To reduce this drain the fat from the dish twice during cooking. )
  3. Prepare the vegetables - thinly slice the red pepper, spring onion and carrot. Spritz a wok (or frying pan) with spray oil (or donegal rapeseed oil). When hot quickly stir fry the carrot, spring onion, red pepper and bean sprouts.
  4. When the duck is cooked remove from the  oven. Remove the fat and discard. Thinly slice the duck.
  5. Fill a pyrex bowl with warm water. Soak a rice paper sheet for 1 min until soft.
  6. Remove from the bowl, lay on some kitchen paper to drain. Lay flat on a plate.
  7. Smear some hoi sin sauce along the rice paper wrapper at a diagonal (from bottom left to top right). Lay down the strips of duck and the vegetables along the line. Sprinkle over  the coriander ( optional )
  8. Now to fold : pick up the bottom right corner and tuck it tightly over the duck.Fold in the 2 far corners  that are sticking out and then  continue to roll up.
  9. Transfer them to a baking tray and bake for 5 mins until just lightly crisp.
  10. Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Glazed Pork Chops with Roast Potatoes, Apples, Chorizo & Olives

This dish has a slight Spanish inspiration with the orange zest, vine tomatoes, olives and sherry vinegar.  Tamarind paste is an Asian ingredients and if you can't get it something simple like balsamic vinegar or worcestershire sauce will be equally fine.  Again if sherry vinegar is not handy just grab some white wine vinegar or even better some cider vinegar. Leaving the skin on the apples and potatoes adds a little more fibre to the dish, while being strict and only eating the centre medallion of pork will seriously reduce the saturated fat content of the dish. A little chorizo goes a long way here so again be very vigilant in your portion control. This meal is very filling and satisfying all the while including a few veggies. The rapeseed oil produced in Donegal is a great Irish product and we should encourage Irish and local where possible, instead of imports.
Overall this dish and a great idea if having friend around for dinner as the pork can be marinated over night and all the veg prepped just to pop in the oven.

Ingredients
Serves 2 
2 Free range pork chops
Marinade
1 tsp local honey
1 tsp tamarind paste / balsamic vinegar ( 2 tbsp )
zest 1 orange
1 tsp wholegrain & 1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp extra virgin oil ( try donegal rapeseed oil )
3 tsp Spanish sherry vinegar

2 medium sized potatoes
100g olives
50g chorizo
1 apple
1/2 red & 1/2 green pepper
1 large red onion
4 cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 handfuls flat leaf parsley

Method
  1. Prepare the meat marinade - combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Trim the fat off the pork chop or if you prefer score the fat and remove when the dish is ready to serve - but absolutely DO remove the fat. Spread the marinade over the pork. Set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 200o C
  3. Wash the potatoes well. Don't peel if possible. Cut into half and parboil for 7 mins. 
  4. Cut the chorizo into cubes.
  5. Peel and deseed the peppers. Cut into chunks.
  6. Leave the skin on the onions and quarter.
  7. Peel and crush the garlic.
  8. Wash, (leave the skin on) remove the core and cube the apple.
  9. Quarter or half the tomatoes ( depending on the size )
  10. Cut the parboiled potatoes into smaller cubes.
  11. Spritz a large baking tray with spray oil. Spread the potatoes, chorizo, red onion, peppers, garlic, apple and olives on the tray.  Spritz and bake for 15mins.
  12. After 15 mins heat a griddle pan and sear the pork chops. If they begin to stick deglaze the pan by splashing on a little sherry vinegar. Transfer to the oven for 10 mins.
  13. Remove the pork, cover with a little foil and allow to rest for 5 mins as the roast potato and apple tray crisps up.
  14. Stir the flat leaf parsley through the apple and potato roast tray. 
  15. Serve and enjoy

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Miso Glazed Chicken & Mango Salad

This is a beautifully light and delicate salad which can be enjoyed all year round. Miso paste can be bought in all super markets and the great thing here is the chicken doesn’t need to marinate over night - just rub over the chicken pieces while you prepare the other ingredients.
Fresh mango will add a little extra vibrancy to the dish however it can be difficult to get them ripe when you need them.
I use good quality jarred roast red peppers – Lidl do a great option.


Ingredients
200g chicken breast (6 mini fillets)
1 sachet miso paste
100g mixed salad leaves
4 tinned mango segments
1 roast red pepper
1 avocado
½ red onion
8 baby sun-blushed tomatoes
Handful of cashew nuts (about 20)
20ml ‘Mor Foods’ Mango Dressing ( fab Irish brand)

Method
1. Prepare everything first. Marinate the chicken pieces in the miso paste. 

2. Thinly slice the avocado, mango, red onion and roast red pepper.
3. Turn on the grill to high and grill the chicken for about 6 mins each side.
4. Place the salad leaves in the bowl. Toss through the avocado, red onion, mango and red pepper. Dress the leaves and toss again. Sit the chicken on top of the leaves and sprinkle the cashew nuts on top.
5. Enjoy with some crusty bread and a glass of pouilly fume.









Salmon & Prawn Pate with Wholemeal Herby Flatbreads

This is a lovely little idea to enjoy as a canape, starter or light lunch. The pate is so easy and holds for a couple of days in the fridge.  If you don't have, don't like or don't want the prawns the pate will be totally delicious without it. The recipe for the flatbreads has been adapted from Rachel Allen's "Bake" Cookbook.






Ingredients 

Serves 4 (light starter)
Smoked Salmon & Prawn Pate

150g smoked salmon
6 large king prawns
100g extra light cream cheese
2 tbsp fresh chives
Salt & pepper
Wholemeal Herby Flatbreads
110g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped chives and parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
100ml cold water

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Weigh out all the ingredients for the flat breads.Spritz the oven trays with spray oil.
  2. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, egg and water. Using a fork or hand stir all the ingredients together.
  3. Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 1 min.
  4. Cover in cling film and chill for 20 mins.
  5. While the dough is chilling begin the pate.
  6. Turn on the grill to a medium heat and grill the salmon and the prawns. After about 4 mins under the grill, transfer to a food processor.
  7. Add in the cream cheese, seasoning and herbs.
  8. Blitz all the ingredients until they form a smooth paste.
  9. Transfer to a dish, cover with cling film and refridgerate for 2 hours before serving.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut in half, sprinkle the board with flour. Roll out into a large squre. This dough then needs to be folded over once and once again. Then roll out until the single sheet is very thin (2mm thick). Cut into rectangles  - if doing canapes small squares are best but if preparing as a lunch then cut to the size of an average crispbread (ryvita).
  11. Place on the baking tray and bake for 12 - 15 mins. Spritz with a little spray oil or brush with a tiny amount of oilve oil. It is possible to sprinkle the flat breads with seeds or sea salt. When cooked, cool on a wire tray.
  12. To serve spread the smoked salmon and prawn pate on the wholewheat crispbreads and garnish with some chives, grilled prawns and a fresh salad.