17 Oct 2013


Light and spicy lunch or canapés with the hint (diet!) of richness from the gooey nutty cheese.  If I was not watching my waistline I would like to stuff this with spicy shrimps tossed in butter or a thick creamy cheese sauce and more ham, or even a rich cheesey fish mornay, oh to be on a diet...
Per Omelette :  285 kcal / 19g fat / 3g sat fat / 25.5g protein / 3.2g carbs
1 lrg egg lightly beaten
1 25g slice of Emmental cheese torn
50g torn ham
1 fine diced spring onion
1 red chilli diced
1 pinch cayenne pepper
sea salt and fresh black pepper
sprig of basil to finish
Heat a non stick pan medium hot, pour in the beaten egg and quickly swill so that it covers the whole pan in a perfect even circle, lower the heat cook till you have little air pockets, take off the heat, sprinkle over the chilli, ham and cheese, spring onion and seasoning.
With a pallet knife lift up the edge of one side and tightly roll up the omelette, slice into sushi rolls and enjoy.

16 Oct 2013


Fantastic fiery Mexican bean chilli, packed full of flavour, low in fat and a really filling dinner, if  I was not watching my waistline I would double the chorizo in this dish to add more naughtiness and serve with warm flour tortillas, spicy salad, corn chips, sour cream and cheese, well rather a good point that I am on a low fat low carb eating plan then I think !
Per portion:  535 kcal / 19.8g protein / 88g carbs / 10.7g fat / 4.4g sat fat / 9.1g fibre
150g rice and 200g Mexican bean chilli
(serves 4)
800g tin borlotti beans drained and rinsed
800g tin channelling beans drained and rinsed
1 chicken jelly stock pot
1 tin tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
20g chorizo thin sliced
1 tsp ooil
1 onion fine chopped
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 tbsp Mexine chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
bunch fresh coriander rough chopped
This only takes 15 minutes to make, but it is one of those dishes that once made and left to settle tastes so much better for it.
Heat a pan and sear the chorizo until cooked, put the chorizo to one side and using the same pan add the ooil and soften the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, add all the spices and stir in, add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, add the chicken jelly pot and beans and mix well, bring to a gentle simmer and once heated through, season to taste and add the coriander.  Serve with rice.

15 Oct 2013


My home grown bounty, this is a wonderful celebration of my mini Autumn harvest with a hint of decadence.  The sweet caramelised smell of the squash and the rich scent of thyme, leeks, cream and Parmesan is only a hint of the gorgeous creamy rich supper to come.  What is more this is only just naughty, if you behave and save your allowance during the day you can enjoy this guilt free !!!
Per Squash: 470 kcal / 33g fat / 14.6g sat / 18.6g protein / 42g carbs /  5.6g fibre
Small squash or pumpkin 400g
1 tsp olive oil
1 small leek fine chopped
100g  half fat crème fraiche
1/2 tsp English mustard
1 sprig of thyme
20g Parmesan grated
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
dusting of fresh grated nutmeg
Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees, heat the oil in a pan and gently soften the leeks slowly for about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraiche, mustard and cheese, season with the nutmeg, and generously with the salt and pepper.
Take your squash, trim the base to make the squash as level as possible when free standing.  Slice off the lid and with a spoon scoop out the seeds in the centre, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the squash. 
Fill the squash almost to the top with the filling, add the sprig of thyme, pop on the lid and place the squash in your pre-heated oven for around 60 minutes, if your squashes are larger, maybe for sharing, cook for longer and if you are cooking more than one, there should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

13 Oct 2013


I am having such fun, I think if I had really thought about low fat cooking and the challenge of still cooking and eating exciting dinners, I probably would have reduced my size long before now, but the greedy cook in me disagrees and I think she is right!
This is another great low fat, low calorie dinner that is bursting full of flavour, here I have used half the amount of coconut milk I would like to have used but this is because I have used full fat, my reason for this is that I will not use any ingredients that have added sugars or hidden fats ie "half fat" products as these are more harmful to your health than honest fats, I feel better having a smaller cleaner portion than a bigger helping full of processed chemicals.
Per portion: 490 kcal based on serving three potions.
(serves 3-4)
1 small onion diced
1 clove garlic diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 inch ginger grated
200ml coconut milk
1 jar Bart Red Thai curry paste
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 yellow pepper sliced
6 mushrooms quartered
6 stems asparagus chopped
3 stalks of stem broccoli sliced
200g monkfish thick sliced
1 cup of rice (brown is better)
10 peanuts crushed
handful chopped coriander
This only takes around 15 minutes to cook, so start the rice first, place the rice in a saucepan with a lid, add two more cups of water and with the lid on simmer for 6 minutes, do not be tempted to lift the lid or stir, take off the heat and leave to one side, lid on for 10 minutes, now your rice is perfectly cooked and ready to go, meanwhile cook the curry.
Soften the onions and garlic in the oil, add the ginger, coconut milk, red Thai curry paste, harissa, peanut butter, asparagus and broccoli, and simmer for a couple of minutes, now add the mushrooms, peppers and stir in, pop the monkfish on top and push down a little into the sauce, pop on a lid and gently simmer for around 5 minutes until the monkfish is just cooked. 
Serve with rice and finish off with a sprinkling of coriander and crushed peanuts.

11 Oct 2013


This is a wonderful abundance of vitamin B and iron from the lamb, while the vegetables provide lots of fibre and minerals.  The zing from the cumin is not only for a Middle Eastern flavour but adds digestive benefits and anti-cancer properties.
Per portion:  363 kcal / 17g fats / 6.6g sats / 29.5g protein / 19g carbs / 2.6g fibre
(serves 2-3)
200g lamb fillet diced
1 onion fine diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 stick celery diced
1/2 turnip diced
1/4 swede diced
2 potatoes diced
1.5 ltr lamb stock
sea salt and black/white pepper
Where I am trying to keep fat to an all time low in my diet, the lamb here is a real treat and feels rather naughty, therefore I did not add any oil to my pan to soften the onions, this is optional.
In a non stick pan soften the onions, celery and garlic gently, add the lamb and brown off, add the stock and all the vegetables and gently simmer for 1-2hrs until the lamb is just holding itself together, if you want the soup to be a little thicker and more hearty, just gently crush some of the vegetables with a masher, season with some white pepper, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. 


Not only is this super low fat, low calorie and low carb it is also packed with lots of anti-cancer and immunity boosting phytochemicals from the watercress, plant chloroplylls from the spinach suck up environmental toxins, chemicals and pesticides from your blood.  Antibacterial properties are found in the garlic and wonderful chest and heart protective effects from the onion, in all a fabulous bowl of super life giving gorgeousness.
Per portion:  222 kcal / 19.5g fat / 5.1g sats / 8.2 protein / 5.5g carbs / 3g fibre
30g onions chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tsp olive oil
40g watercress
80g spinach
500ml chicken stock
10g 5 thin slice's of chorizo
1 tbsp 1/2 fat crème fraiche
This only takes a couple of minutes to make, heat the flat teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and crisply cook the chorizo slices, leave to one side and in the same pan gently soften the onion and garlic, add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, add the watercress and spinach and take off the heat.  With a hand blender whiz the soup until smooth, stir in the crème fraiche, season to taste if needed and sprinkle over the chorizo.

10 Oct 2013


The loveliness of the mushrooms, slightly pan seared in nutty butter oozing all their gorgeousness into the flat bread as it bakes is outstanding on it's own but then to finish off with lavish amounts of black truffle shavings just sends this all the way up the scale, unfortunately for me I did not make a big enough flat bread as the family all tucked in !!!
(makes 6 x 12")
500g 00 tipo or caputo flour
15g dried yeast
10g sea salt
50g olive oil
320g water
Pre-heat your oven and stone 230 degrees
Mix all the ingredients together and work for approx seven minutes until the dough becomes smooth and springy.  Rest for 1 hour at room temperature or rest in the fridge overnight, and use the next day.  Divide into six equal balls and roll out nice and thin.
300g wild mushrooms
Winter Chanterelle
Chestnut mushrooms
3 tbsp butter
1 glug olive oil
3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Black truffle sliced
Melt a tablespoon of butter and glug of olive oil in a non stick pan and gently pan fry the mushrooms for one to two minutes only, mushrooms should only just kiss the pan, remove and reserve, add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and bubble until you have a light brown colour, take off the heat and the butter will darken just a little more, this butter will have a deep nutty rich flavour that with the cooking juices of the mushroom will intensify the layers on the finished flat bread.
Spread some butter on the flat bread, sprinkle over the garlic, layer on your mushrooms, bake in your hot oven for approx 5-7 minutes, served immediately with a drizzle of the nutty mushroom butter, a sprinkling of sea salt and generous amount of black truffle slices.


WOW what an amazing gorgeous creamy rich stroganoff, a beautiful dish to celebrate this seasons generous bounty of wild mushrooms. The more traditional stroganoff would general be served with beef, but I like to go with my mood, venison is great with this dish too, if I am going with red meat I would use the brandy instead of the white wine for a better balance.
Per Portion :  489 kcal / 33g fat / 13g sat fat / 31g protein / 28g carbs / 0.5g fibre
(serves 4)
1 mug of rice
500g wild mushrooms torn
2 chicken breast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 onion fine diced
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 tsps of ghee
250ml dry white wine
150ml brandy
juice 1/2 lemon
300ml crème fraiche 1/2 fat
salt and black pepper
small bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
In a deep pan fry the onion and garlic in one teaspoon of ghee until soft, remove from the pan and reserve to one side, add the other two teaspoon of ghee and gently pan fry the mushrooms, in batches so you don't overload the pan, once just cooked (a minute or two only) remove from pan and reserve to one side.
Slice the chicken, rub in the seasoning and smoked paprika, sear in the pan until half cooked, add the wine to de-glaze the pan and reduce by half, now add back the mushrooms and softened onions, stir in the crème fraiche reserving one tablespoon for later, and the lemon juice, stir well and bring to almost a simmer, taste and season if needed, meanwhile cook the rice.
Place the mug of rice in a pan with two mugs of water, bring to a simmer with the lid on for 6 minutes, then take off the heat and leave for 8 minutes to finish cooking.
To finish off the dish drizzle over the remaining crème fraiche and swirl a little so that the gorgeous paprika oils mingle then finish with the chopped parsley.

7 Oct 2013


Portion approx:   500 kcal / 60g carbs / 2g sugars / 14g fat / 7g sat / 15g protein
(serves 2-3) 
300g arborio risotto rice
3 knobs of butter
2 tbsp ooil
1 small onion fine fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
200g wild mushrooms
50g dried mushrooms
Hot 500ml mushroom stock
(made with the dried mushrooms)
Hot 500ml chicken stock
200ml dry white wine
Salt and white pepper to taste
100g grated Parmesan
Truffle shavings and truffle oil
 Wild Ceps, Giant Funnel, Chicken of the Woods and Winter Chanterelle mushrooms, slice whatever mushrooms you have and in a non stick pan melt a large knob of butter and dash of ooil gently pan fry the mushrooms for only a minute, mushrooms need only to kiss the pan, reserve to one side.
Heat the butter and ooil in your pan and gently fry the onion and garlic, until opaque, do not colour, turn up the heat a little and add the risotto rice and stir for a few minutes until it starts to turn slightly translucent, we are now starting to release the gluten layers from the rice.  Now add the wine and gently keep stirring while the rice gently absorbs all the liquid.
Once the wine has been absorbed turn down the heat to a medium and add a ladle of the hot mushroom stock, keep stirring gently until all the liquid has been absorbed, keep adding ladles of mushroom and chicken stock, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before add the next, this should take around 15 minutes, when you add the last ladle of stock also add all the mushrooms.  Taste the risotto, you are looking for the rice to be soft with a slight bite, you want your risotto consistency to be slightly wet not thick and stodgy.
Remove the pan from the heat, season, stir in the knob of butter and grated Parmesan, cover with a lid and leave for a couple of minutes, this resting time will allow the risotto to become all creamy, smooth and gooey.
If you have a Truffle, shave a little over the top of your served risotto along with a drizzle of truffle oil, to add that extra layer of mushroom flavour.
This is a really simple way to make a deep flavoured stock, just pour 500ml of hot water over the dried mushrooms and leave for an hour as the mushrooms re-hydrate they will perfume the water.


4 Oct 2013


My gorgeous sumptuous lasagne, slightly tinkered with but still able to deliver the very best flavours, the smaller portion will save me 500 calories and still gives me mouth watering satisfaction.
I am slowly losing the 3 stone (42lb) that I have gained since I started my blog!  I don't believe in diets, I believe in small changes that will allow the gained lbs to drop OFF as slowly in the same way they dropped ON over the last three years!  I know just by halving your portion size, lowering carbs and cooking your meals in a healthier way will do just that.  My hypothesis is...that cooking all your own food removes hidden fats and salts which can allow you to eat your favourite foods in moderation and proportion, and keeping to these RDA'S...
1400kcal / Protein 70g / 100g carbs / sugar 50g / fat 40g / sats 20g / fibre 24g / sodium 2.4g / salt 4g
(make 8 slim ptn / 4 regular)
1small onion fine diced
1 clove garlic grated
1 red pepper fine diced
500g lean beef or quorn mince
1 glass of red wine
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 sprig of oregano chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
600g 00 Caputo or Tipo flour
6 large eggs
1 flat tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
400ml skimmed milk
50g - 100g Parmesan grated
(reserve 30g for topping)
white pepper
1 scone cutter
First I make the ragu and béchamel sauce, as the pasta takes very little time and dries out very quickly, therefore I like to have everything ready to assemble the lasagne.
In a non stick pan without the temptation for oil gently dry fry the onion, garlic and red pepper together, once softened add the mince and brown off,  drain off the fat through a sieve and return to the pan, add the red wine and deglaze the pan and reduce by two thirds.  Add the tomatoes, oregano and bay leaf and simmer until medium thick, taste and season to your liken and leave to one side.
Place the butter in your pan and gently melt, add the flour and mix well, cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add a generous glug of the milk and mix in until smooth, add some more and repeat until all the milk is used, you will have a thick ribbon sauce, add the Parmesan cheese, stir in well, taste and season with white pepper to taste, Parmesan cheese is high in sodium so doubtful you will need any salt to season the béchamel sauce.
This is such a simple and fun method, I find making my own pasta very satisfying and again knowing that everything I eat is free from additives and hidden chemicals or fats.
Tip your flour onto your work top and make a well in the centre, beat the eggs and pour into the well, slowly flick the flour into the egg and bring together slowly to form a stiff ball.  Alternatively you can pop the ingredients into a blender instead and pulse until breadcrumbs and then bring together by hand to form a stiff ball instead.  You need to knead the ball of dough until the gluten has come to life, you will feel this when the ball becomes springy and soft, probably 7-10 minutes. 
Now to roll out, I do have a pasta machine but I like to be old fashioned and all the Nona's in Italy do not have pasta machines they use a rolling pin, it just takes some muscles to get the thinnest pasta.  Dust your work top with some of the 00 flour and in small portions roll out into long thin oblongs, keep rolling until really thin and then cut into sheets.  Lay on a damp tea towel and cover with another and use immediately as the pasta will want to dry out, if this happens, the edges will become crusty, this is not so bad when using in lasagne, but if you were to trim the sheets into linguine, or ravioli then you would have clumpy edges on your pasta.
Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees.  Take your Lasagne dish I often use a 2-3lb loaf tin, only because it is super deep and that is how my husband likes his lasagne.  First layer in some of your ragu, then pasta sheets, followed by ragu, pasta sheets, half the béchamel, pasta sheet, ragu pasta sheet and finished off with either another layer of ragu and pasta or béchamel.  Sprinkle the top of the béchamel with 30g of Parmesan, this will become crispy and add fantastic depth of flavour to the finished dish, a must in my opinion.
Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes at 190 degrees, if your top browns to much to soon, just cover with tinfoil.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes and then for slim portion using a scone cutter and  pallet knife cut out your slimmer portion and serve with a spinach and basil salad or some crusty bread.