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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.

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

  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)

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 )

  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.


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

  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.
(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


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!
(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

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!