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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Biscotti is a traditional Italian treat. This is a treat so be warned before you make these mouthfuls of yum you will want to over indulge. However in saying that one is enough and deeply satisfying. This recipe had been modified to make them a little better for you and your waistline. The recipe calls for only 1 egg and 1 egg white and as per the traditional recipe they do not contain any fat. Be warned there is  white flour,sugar, chocolate & cocoa.

Baking is not quite my forte. I appreciate that is an exact science and I'm much more of a "splash of this, dash of that" kinda girl so for this recipe I'm going to give the measurements in grams but also using a regular sized mug. That way you don't even need a scales or any fancy pieces of kit.

Makes 10 large (20 small)

100g (3/4 mug)  self raising flour
75g(1/2 mug) whole hazelnuts
1 bag chocolate chips
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp coffee powder
pinch salt
75g (1/2 mug) unrefined sugar (or castor)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract / 1/2 vanilla pod

  1. Preheat the oven to 150oC.
  2. Pop the hazelnuts on an oven tray. Roast for 5 - 10mins.
  3. Separate the egg, weigh out the ingredients.
  4. Remove from the oven and rub them roughly in a tea towel to remove as much of the skin as possible. (Don't get obsessive about this).
  5. Pop them in a freezer bag with half the chocolate chips and crush with a large heavy object. (rolling pin/wine bottle/saucepan)
  6. In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa, remaining chocolate chips and the crushed hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
  7. In a separate bowl, using a fork whisk together the whole egg, egg white, vanilla and sugar. (if you do have an electric beater use that for a minute or two.
  8. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
  9. Spritz an oven tray with spray oil. Spoon the biscotti mixture out in a long log shape - about 2 inches wide and 12 inches wide. It will spread out alot in the oven that is why it is important to have it high, long and skinny going in to the oven.
  10. Bake for 15mins.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for 10 mins. Turn the oven down to 150oC.
  12. Transfer to a board or the counter and using a serrated knife cut them into 3 cm wide pieces.
  13. Place the long biscotti pieces back on the oven tray with one of the cut sides facing up.
  14. Bake again for 15 - 20mins until they are dried out.
  15. Cool and then store in an air tight tin.
  16. Enjoy with a Skinny hazelnut Mocha.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tuna & Bean Salad

This little salad is perfect made up the day before as all the flavours mingle together. This tuna salad is so healthy as it is very high in lean protein from the tinned tuna and cannellini beans and has virtually no fat. It is important to buy tuna in spring water or brine - not sunflower oil. Also, always drain and rinse the beans and jarred roast red peppers with some cold water. There is basil pesto in this recipe but feel free to omit this and the basil leaves if they are not to hand.

Serves 2
1 180g tin tuna (in brine)
1 tin cannellini beans
2 jarred roast red peppers
75g fine green beans
1/2 red onion
6 sun blushed tomato pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp extra light mayonnaise
3 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp sherry/red wine/white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper
6 basil leaves
2 tsp basil pesto
Mixed leaves

  1. OK remembering this is a salad - its easy - its summer - there is no stress here. Its a simple process of chopping and assembling.
  2. Boil a little saucepan of water. Open and drain the tin of tuna. Open, drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
  3. Cut the green beans in half diagonally. (or not if you don't feel like) (remember - easy!!!) Pop into the boiling water for about 4 mins. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water.
  4. Peel and slice the onion.Cut the basil leaves into fine strips.
  5. In a large bowl mix the tuna, beans, onion and sun blushed tomato together.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the olive oil, natural yoghurt, extra light mayo, seasoning, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, basil leaves and pesto.
  7. Coat the ingredients with the dressing. Chill for an hour or two. A little spritz of lemon juice  and then  serve with mixed leaves and some wholewheat bread.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken Tikka Wholemeal Pitta with a Mint & Cucumber Riata

This dish is Indian inspired to an extent but  is oh so simple and can be so easily created. It is a perfect lunch dish on a sunny day or brilliant for making up the night before and having a very enviable packed lunch at work the next day.
As with any good sandwich this is about bringing together a medley of ingredients. In this case the vehicle for all the flavour is a Food Doctor Multi - Seed Pitta. They have a higher calorie content and fat content than other brands but there is no comparison on taste, texture and most importantly they provide a feeling of fullness for much longer than the others.

Then there is the skinless chicken breast which is low in saturated fat and calories and is a good source of lean protein.

To add to this there is a carrot salad, tomatoes and a mint riata which are all delicious fresh vibrant ingredients contributing to our recommended five a day.

Serves 2

1 chicken breast
1 tsp pataks korma curry paste
2 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
2 Food Doctor Multi Seed Pitta
2 scallions ( spring onions)
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
4 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1/2 cucumber
salt & pepper

Carrot salad
1 carrot 
1 tsp onion seeds
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 beef tomato
Salt & pepper
Handful of mixed leaves

  1. Prepare the chicken. Trim off any pieces of fat from the chicken. Score (cut little lines) in the breast. Mix together the korma paste & the natural yoghurt. Smother the chicken breast in this sauce and allow to marinade for a minimum of 30mins (overnight would be great).
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 oC. Remove the chicken from the fridge, spritz an oven proof dish with spray oil and  bake for 20mins turning once.
  3. Carrot Salad: Peel and grate the carrot (large side of grater). In a small bowl with a fork whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Toss in the carrot and mix well. Set aside
  4. Riata: Cut the cucumber lenghtways. Scoop out all the seeds in the middle. Grate. When grated place the cucumber between 2 pieces of kitchen towel and gently squeeze out all the excess water. Cut the spring onions into thin slices. Wash the mint, pat dry and cut into very fine strips. In a bowl mix together the  fat free natural yoghurt, spring onions, mint, cucumber and seasoning.
  5. Dice the tomatoes, discarding the inner pulp. season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pop the pitta breads in the oven or the toaster for 3/4 mins until warm. ( They are fine to use directly from frozen).
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven cut into long strips.
  8. Cut open the pitta, spread the riata on the bottom, a handful of mixed leaves topped with  a carrot salad and tomato, then layer in the chicken.
  9. Squeeze down the top and enjoy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creamy Salmon & Spinach Filo Tart

Ok, I am very excited about this recipe. I have been trying to create something like this for awhile but I couldn't get that creamy texture and for it to bake correctly. Until NOW !!! I discovered QUARK. Quark is an extremely low fat cream cheese. Very similiar to extra light Philadelphia, a slight tang but a little more texture. The great news is  - it is lower in calories and saturated fat than extra light philadelphia.
I have honestly had my eye for out for this product for a long time and just discovered it in Dunnes Stores.
If your supermarket does not have it - ask them. Ask them to stock it and in most cases they will do so!!!

Now for the recipe and all the delicious low fat great bits. The filo pastry is ultra low fat. The quark is the lowest fat creamy product I have yet found. The salmon is full of esseantial fatty acids which are so good for you and the spinach is one of your five a day and a source of non haem iron. The salad is full of fresh vitamins and minerals.

Seriously you have got to try this. It is sensational if I do say so myself and I even had a sneaky glass of chilled sancerre with it. Delicious.

Serves 4
4 sheets filo pastry
spray oil
2 salmon fillets (approx 250g)
250g carton quark
1 bag baby spinach
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 fish stock cube
1 egg
4 tbsp parmesan
salt &  pepper
zest 1/2 lemon

Rocket & Spinach leaves
Cherry tomaotes
1/2 red onion
1tsp basil pesto
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 180OC/gas7.
  2. Grate the garlic, lemon zest and parmesan.
  3. Remove the skin from the skin and cut each fillet into about 6 pieces.
  4. Using a spring form metal tin layer in the four sheets into the tin, spritzing each layer with a little spray oil. Pop in the oven for 4/5 mins (just to crisp a little)
  5. In a non stick pan - spritz a little spray oil in. Add the spinach and garlic and allow to wilt down. If it starts to stick add in a little drop of water.
  6. Remove from the pan and pat out any excess water with kitchen towel.
  7. Poach the pieces of salmon in a little wine or water for 3/4 mins.
  8. In a large bowl mix together the egg,quark, lemon zest, dijon mustard, spinach, seasoning and crumble in the fish stock.
  9. Stir in the salmon pieces, taking care not to break them up.
  10. Pour the creamy mixture into the pastry case. Smooth out and sprinkle with parmesan.
  11. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30mins.
  12. While the tart is in the oven assemble the salad. Slice the red onion, quarter the cherry tomatoes and toss together the leaves with the basil pesto.
  13. Serve and enjoy. 

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Raspberry & Mango Smoothie

    With the bright mornings and the milder weather Im swopping my warming cup of tea for a refreshing, zingy smoothie.

    Recipes for smoothies have a great deal of flexibility, but this recipe is my favourite. Alot of smoothies have hidden calories due to lots of creamy full fat yoghurt being included. Although the calcium from the yoghurt is great we don't want the saturated fat. In addition to this fruit has alot of sugar, although natural sugar, still sugar and we need to limit our consumption where possible. It is recommended that we consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This smoothie will give you at least 2 or 3 portions.

    Fresh fruit and vegetables can be a little expensive at times, particularly fruit like mangoes therefore embracing the recession I am choosing tinned fruit IN NATURAL JUICES !!!!! Tinned fruit in syrup just had more hidden sugar. If you can only get fruit in syrup then rinse it under cold running water before using.

    This recipe calls for frozen raspberries. Again fresh raspberries are very expensive and go off quite quickly. The frozen raspberries are more economical and add that real chilled factor to the smoothie.

    Variations: Swap a tin of mangoes for a tin of peaches or oranges
                         Use frozen fruits of the forest instead of raspberries

    Serves 2

    150g frozen raspberries
    6 ice cubes
    1 tin mangoes
    1 banana
    1 tbsp honey

    1. Ok, now for the science bit.
    2. Put everything in the blender/smoothie maker/food processor.
    3. Blitz for about 2 mins.
    4. Serve & enjoy 
    5. (Because your worth it - oh and it will save you a fortune & calories instead of buying them)

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Skinny Curry

    Skinny Curry

    None of these ingredients are set in stone. However, I seriously encourage the addition of the butternut squash. It really does increase the enjoyment & satisfaction levels from this meal.
    Brown rice does take a little longer to cook however it is higher in fibre and will keep you fuller for longer.

    A normal Korma would be based on full fat cream or coconut milk but his has NONE, NADA, NOTHING!!!

    Serves 2
    1 Chicken Fillet
    100g uncooked brown rice
    2 dessertspoons pataks korma paste
    1 chicken stock cube
    1 onion
    2 cloves garlic
    1 cm fresh ginger
    1 small potato
    ½ butternut squash
    ½ red & ½ green pepper
    Button mushrooms
    ½ mug frozen petit pois peas
    ½ tin chickpeas
    2 tsp natural yoghurt / weight watcher cream
    1 tsp chopped fresh coriander

    1. Prepare all the ingredients. Preheat the oven to a high setting – 200oC. Peel, half, remove the seeds and dice the butternut squash into large cubes.
    2. Put on a saucepan of water to boil for the rice.
    3. Spritz with spray oil, season and roast for 20/25mins.
    4. Dice the onion, garlic and chilli. Peel and dice the ginger very finely.
    5. Peel and dice the potato into large chunks.
    6. Slice the mushrooms. Deseed & chop the peppers into large chunks.
    7. Spritz the wok with spray oil. When hot, add in the onion, garlic, ginger & chilli. Turn the heat down and allow to cook and brown for about 15mins.
    8. Make up the chicken stock to 500mls.
    9. Stir in the curry paste, cook out for 2 mins.
    10. Add in chicken. Brown for about 2 mins.
    11. Add in all the vegetables. Pour in the hot stock. Turn down and allow to simmer for 45mins to an hour.
    12. About 10 mins before the end add the chickpeas and 5 mins before the end add the petit pois.
    13. Pour the rice into the saucepan and boil for 30mins.
    14. Strain the rice and spoon onto serving plate. Serve up the curry and add a dollop of natural yoghurt on top and garnish with some fresh coriander.
    15. Enjoy.

    Vegetable & Lentil Soup

    This soup takes less than 10 mins to prepare and cooks within 25mins. I know there is a temptation to make soup when the vegetables are looking a little past it but try not to. You want to get the optimum nutrition from them so use them while they are as fresh as possible.

    This soup is easy, warming, filling,wholesome and tasty. No secret tips here - its just soup. Make it, enjoy it, be full, dont snack in the afternoon and get skinny along the way. Simple!!!!

    As the people at Nike say -"Just Do It". Stop buying over priced soups in nice fancy packaging. They have hidden calories and are usually high in salt. Spend your money on nice fresh local or organic veggies, knock up this soup and enjoy for lunch.

    This soup has no celery. Almost every soup recipe has celery - I dont really like celery so I leave it out. Also if you are making soup I like to have a higher ratio of carrot as it gives a nice hint of sweetness to the soup. Don't include brocolli in a vegetable soup - it gives an undesirable bitter taste.

    This recipe includes half a potato - if you would like an even skinnier version leave out the potato and just include the lentils which are high in fibre and so filling.

    Serves 2
    few spritz's spray oil
    2 large carrots
    1/2 onion
    1 baby leek
    1/2 potato
    4 tbsp red lentils
    4 tbsp chicken stock concentrate / 1 chicken stock cube
    500ml water
    2 tsp weight watcher cream

    1. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrots and potatoes. Peel and dice the onion. Wash the leek and finely slice using about 3/4 of the leek.
    2. Spritz a large saucepan with spray oil and put on a high heat. Add in the onion, potato, leek and carrots. Turn the heat down to a medium heat and allow the vegetables to sweat off for about 5mins.
    3. Stir in the lentils and pour in the stock. Turn back up to a high heat and bring it to the boil. Then turn down and simmer for 25mins.
    4. Puree down the soup -season with a little salt & pepper. 
    5. Pour into a bowl and serve with a little dollop of weight watcher cream & chives.
    6. Enjoy with a slice of McCambridges wholewheat bread.