Sunday, August 28, 2011

Low Fat Chicken & Apricot Stew

This recipe is a great one pot dish and low in fat. It has chicken, dried apricots and a drizzle of honey, but other than those ingredients (all of which was very healthy and good for you anyways), the dish is extremely low in fat. It’s a great mid week dinner, just taking a few minutes to prepare and then ignore for 40 minutes or so, and presto, it’s done. This tastes really good the following day as well, so you can take it to work for lunch and just reheat for 3 minutes. The accompaniment for this dish, determines the fat level. This is served best with pitta and cous cous, or rice. On the other side you can be extremely healthy and serve with a green salad, semi-healthy with wedges of butternut squash or sweet potato, sprayed with low cal spray, sprinkled with ground cumin and baked in the oven for 30 minutes. The choice is yours.

Serves 4


  • 3 breasts skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tin of drained chickpeas
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1 diced onion
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of turmeric
  • 1 tbsp of coriander
  • ½ tbsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Chopped coriander
  • 7-8 dried apricots, rehydrated in boiled water for 5 minutes
  • ½ pint of low sodium stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp of runny honey


  1. In a large pan, fry off the chicken, spices, garlic and onion in the olive oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes after 5 minutes  and continue mixing
  3. Add in the stock, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes so the sauce thickens and reduced.
  4. Finally, add the honey, apricots and the coriander and mix well
  5. Serve with you own choice of accompaniment.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Open Sandwich with Yogurt and Herb Dressing

This is a really really tasty, quiet fancy sandwich. The main calorie content is coming from the oil used to marinate the vegetables and of course the bread. I’m using a wholegrain pitta, split and opened out, but feel free to use whatever bread you prefer. By marinating the vegetables in a herby dressing before hand, really takes the flavours up a notch.


·         1 aubergine, sliced thinly length ways
·         1 courgette, sliced thinly lengthways
·         ½ a red pepper, sliced into strips
·         ½ a yellow pepper, sliced into strips
·         1 tomato, sliced thinly
·         50g of chickpeas (drained from a tin)
·         2 wholemeal pitta breads
·         1 handful of rocket
·         1 lemon

Tomato Salsa

·         Onion
·         3 tomatoes
·         Basil leaves
·         Salt
·         Peper
·         ½ garlic clove
·         ½ diced red chilli


·         1 tbsp of olive oil
·         ½ a diced deseeded red chilli
·         2 sprigs of thyme leaves
·         1 tbsp of parsley
·         1 tbsp of mint
·         1 tbsp of coriander
·         1 garlic clove, minced

Yogurt Dressing

·         100 ml of low fat natural yogurt
·         Juice of half a lemon
·         Black Cracked pepper
·         3 tbsp of fresh mixed herbs (mint, coriander, and flat leaf parsley)


1.       To make the marinade, place all the ingredients into a jug, and using a hand held blender, whizz them up until everything is incorporated.
2.       Place the strips of vegetables in a shallow dish and pour over the oil marinade and shake so that everything is evenly covered.
3.       Preheat your grill to a medium setting.
4.       Once the vegetables have had a minimum. of 20minutes marinating, place then onto a grill rack and grill for 8 minutes a side, or until nicely charred, then turn over and grill for anything 8 minutes.
5.       Meanwhile add the yogurt dressing ingredients to the same jug that the marinade was in, and using the hand held blender again, whizz it up until the yogurt turns a pale greeny colour.
6.       Give the blender a quick wash, and in a separate jug, blitz the tomato salsa.
7.       To plate up, split the pitta in half and lay in the centre of the plate.
8.       Spread a thin layer of the tomato salsa on the cut side of the bread, and place the thin slices of tomato over the salsa.
9.       Place the grilled vegetables over the salsa, along with some chickpeas.
10.   In a separate bowl, mix the rocket and  the lemon juice together, and pile a little over the sandwiches.
11.   Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
12.   Place the remaining tomato salsa, chickpeas and yogurt on the side for dipping.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Low Fat Courgette Soup

I’m trying to branch away from my normal homemade soups and try something different. I have cooked tomato & basil soup and carrot & coriander soup to death. It's definitely time for a change. The only reason I’m picking courgette soup is because I have a shelf in my fridge full of courgettes for some reason. As alas we are coming into the autumnal season, we will be in need of soups to warm the bones. But on the plus side all autumnal vegetables make wonderful soups. With homemade soups you can really control the flavours and calorie content, making them ideal for calorie watching.


·         2 large courgettes, chopped
·         1 garlic clove, crushes
·         1 onion, diced
·         1 carrot, grated
·         500ml of vegetable stock
·         3 sprigs of fresh thyme
·         Salt & pepper
·         Handful chopped fresh mint
·         1 small potato, cubed


1.       In a saucepan, add the onion, garlic, courgette and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.
2.       Add the potatoes and thyme, and mix to combine.
3.       Add the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4.       add salt and pepper, and the chopped mint, then using a hand held blender to blitz the soup.
Its that simple!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuffed Pepper Mexican Style

I’m in the mood for Mexican flavours, but on the low fat side. One of the staples of the Mexican diet is rice. Now I’m not saying rice is bad for you, on the contrary, rice is a great sources of energy. But I’m hoping to steer clear of carbs this week, and hope to make a low fat, high protein dish. So I’ve decided to make some Mexican Stuffed Peppers. In order to make this the low fat, high protein way, I’m using turkey mince and kidney beans. The use of coriander and cumin will make this a great flavourful dish. If you serve this with a big green salad you have the makings of a  great dinner. The peppers keep well too, so there is enough made to cover me for my lunch tomorrow also, just pack it in an air tight container when cooled and reheat in the microwave for approx 3 minutes. How economical is that!


·         Mince turkey meat
·         250g (drained) can of kidney beans (rinsed thoroughly)
·         ½ onion, diced
·         2 peppers (red & yellow)
·         ½ courgette, diced
·         1 tbsp of ground coriander
·         1 tbsp of ground cumin
·         1 tbsp chopped coriander
·         ½ tbsp of brown sugar
·         4 chopped tomatoes
·         ½ tbsp of tomato paste
·         ½ a deseeded diced red chilli
·         1 minced garlic clove
·         Green Salad to serve


1.       Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
2.       Cut the red and yellow pepper in half vertically. Place in oven proof dish, cut side down and bake for 10 minutes in the oven.
3.       Fry off the turkey mince and add the onion and garlic and chilli, fry for a few minutes.
4.       Add the chopped courgette, tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan, and sauté, stirring occasionally.
5.       Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until a thick sauce has formed.
6.       Add the ground spices, kidney beans, sugar and chopped coriander and mix well.
7.       Turn over the cut peppers and spoon in the mince mixture until you completely fill the pepper.
8.       Add water to the dish to come up ¼ of the way of the peppers.
9.       Cover with foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
10.   Serve with your salad.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lime & Ginger Chicken with Crushed Baby Potatoes

Its always hard to come up with new ways to do chicken, but here I am still on my mission for fresh new ideas, that will flavour the chicken, but not drown it in a fatty, calorie laden sauce. Well here is my latest creation, it’s a mixture of lime, ginger, garlic and honey. Marinade the chicken for an hour on so in this marinade and it will not only be tender, but full of flavour also. This marinade could be is similar to a thai marinade, and could be used on BBQ chicken drumsticks as well chicken breasts baked in the oven. I’m serving the chicken with a few crushed baby potatoes, baked in the oven, in fact they can be baked in the same dish alongside the chicken to save on washing up.

There is also a bit of bashing involved in this, so great for the bingo wings!!

This is an impressive mid week supper, low on calories, high on flavour; perfect if you are having some girlfriends over after work midweek. Serve then with a green salad, or garden Voilá!

Serves 2


·         2 chicken Breast
·         1 lime, zest and juice
·         1 inch peeled piece of ginger, grated
·         1 tbsp honey
·         1 clove of garlic, crushed


·         3 sprigs of fresh thyme
·         250g of baby potatoes
·         Sea salt
·         Black pepper
·         Olive oil


1.       Place the 2 chicken breast between 2 pieces of cling film and flatten a little with a blunt object. (my weapon of choice is a saucepan)
2.       Put 3 slits on each breast, just cutting the surface, not cutting through
3.       To make the marinade, combine the honey, garlic, ginger, and lime in a jug, whisk well and pour over the chicken.
4.       Pop the chicken in fridge for minimum 20 minutes
5.       Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
6.       Put the potatoes into cold water in a pan on a high heat, bring up to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
7.       Drain the potatoes, place in a plastic zip lock sandwich bag (or similar), with sea salt, oil, pepper and thyme.
8.       Bash the bag against the counter to crush the potatoes  to a make some bits of potatoes crumb-like and other larger bits.
9.       In an oven proof dish, place the chicken breast and the crushed potatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes.
10.   To serve, place the potatoes in the centre of a plate and place the chicken on top of the potatoes, at an angle.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fish n'Chips Moroccan Style

As I continue along on my quest to make my favorite take out and comfort food the low fat way, here is my low fat take on fish and chips, with plenty of kick and none of the guilt. I actually just stumbled along this recipe, having just a few vegetables and the freshly bought fillet of hake. What started out as just deciding to have some roast vegetables and fish for a low fat supper, turned into me getting very carried away with myself in the kitchen thinking about fish and chips as the oven preheated.

So there I was thinking.... the ultimate fish and chip dinner has to have really fresh fish, deep fried in a light batter, twice cooked chips in dripping, sweet mushy peas, and creamy homemade tartar sauce. AMAZ!!! But definitely not allowed!

 I tried to think of tasty substitutes for each element. Fish, check! Deep fried, negative!! But oven baked fish? tasty!.. with a Moroccan spice rub?! Now we're onto something!!!!!!

The substitute for those gorgeous chips?? How can you make anything that would compare to those??? Well, cumin spices oven baked sweet potato wedges might do it!!!

Now for the mushy peas.......full of sugar and a no no!!! Disguised as the healthy part of the dish, but really full of sugar! In keeping with the Moroccan theme, I decided chickPEAS, would work perfectly. Jazz them up with some roast Mediterranean veggies and spinach, and we're not onto a winner.

Finally, alas we are banned from creamy tartar sauce, but you cannot have fish, chips, and peas, without something to dip them into. Again complimenting my Moroccan theme, what's a better substitute for tartar sauce, than a harrisa spiced roast red pepper hummous. (I know thats a mouth full........and eating it, I definitely had more than a mouth full, let me tell you!!!!)

Okay so that's the WHY? covered, now on with the HOW?

Serves 2



  • 2 fillets of hake
  • 2 tbsp of Ras El Hanout (Shop bought Moroccan spice rub)


  • 2 Sweet potatoes
  • Spray can of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin

Warm Chickpeas Salad 

  • 50g of tinned chickpeas
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground cumin
  • Spray of olive oil
  • Half a red pepper, chopped into bite-size
  • 4 Mushrooms, halved
  • 1/2 courgette, chopped into bite-size

Spicy Red Pepper Hummus

  • 200g of chickpeas
  • 50g of roast red pepper from a jar
  • 2 tbsp of oil from the red pepper jar
  •  1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp of chopped mint and parsley
  • 1 grate clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp harrisa paste


  1. Rub the fish with the spice rub and leave to infuse.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  3. Cut your sweet potato into wedges and sprinkle with the cumin and oil. Mix them to ensure they are evenly coated.
  4. Place the wedges into an oven dish lined with baking paper and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in another baking dish, add you red pepper, mushrooms, and courgette. Lightly coat them with the oil and cumin and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  6. For the hummus, in a mini blender add all the ingredients and simply blend until smooth.
  7. Add the fish to the oven for 15 minutes, but ensure its fully cooked through before serving.
  8. When the roast vegetables are cooked, remove from the oven and add them to a pan, with the spinach and the chickpeas. Cook on a medium heat until the spinach has wilted and the chickpeas have warmed through.
  9. To plate up, place a line of the chickpea and vegetable mixture down the centre of your plate. Place the fish on top of the vegetables, and add a few potato wedges to one side and a dollop of the spicy hummus along the other side.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Low Fat Spinach, Olive & Feta Pizza with Beetroot Salsa

Who says if you’re dieting you can’t have pizza. Here’s my cheats version of low fat pizza with an accompaniment of beetroot salsa. This certainly will satisfy the pizza craving, dare I say it might even be nicer, as we are using the freshest of ingredients, and using food combinations that will really pop together. By using a store bought wrap, you can also keep track of the calories, and its a great quick cheat way of getting the pizza hit!

Serves 1



·         1 Mediterranean wrap (wholemeal if possible)
·         6 Cherry Tomatoes
·         ½ onion, ½ of it sliced very thinly
·         1 garlic clove, grated
·         1 tsp of dried oregano
·         2 sliced basil leaves
·         1 tsp of tomato paste
·         30g of crumbled feta cheese
·         1 handful of baby spinach leaves
·         3 Black pitted olives, sliced
·         1 tbsp of oil oil
·         Sprinkle of chilli flakes
·         Sea salt and black pepper.

Beetroot Salsa

·         1 cooked beetroot, from packet, cubed
·         1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
·         1 tbsp of olive oil
·         1 eating apple, sliced
·         1 tsp of chopped flat leaf parsley
·         ½ red onion, diced
·         Juice of ½ a lemon
·         1 tsp of honey


1.       Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2.       Meanwhile, in a saucepan, fry off the onion garlic, oregano and tomato paste for 5 minutes.
3.       Chop the cherry tomatoes and add to the pan, bring back to a simmer and leave to reduce for 10 minutes.
4.       Add the basil, salt and pepper and set aside.
5.       To make the beetroot salsa, combine all the ingredients and mix well together.
6.       To make the pizza, place the wrap on a pizza tray (one with the air holes).
7.       Spoon over the reduced tomato sauce.
8.       Place the spinach, sliced mushrooms and feta over the top, spreading evenly.
9.       Bake in the oven for 7 minutes.
10.   Scatter over some basil at the end and some chilli flakes and sea salt
11.   Serve with the beetroot salsa.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Prawn Noodle Soup

This soup is has the holy trinity of chilli, garlic and ginger, as well as lime juice, fish sauce and lemon grass, mint and coriander. All in all, a really fragrant and spicy soup. I call this my Asian Wellness Soup, as it’s just so, so healthy. It keeps away the sniffles and coughs and also helps the body recover if the sniffles and coughs do hit.

To make a proper supper out of this you could add some thinly sliced lean pork or turkey or chicken breast, but here I'm trying to keep it as low fat as possible, so I'm adding some prawns.

This soup  reminds me of my favourite country Vietnam. In most guesthouses on our travels their breakfast choices were limited, the choice was French bread roll with a plain omelette, or noodle soup. I went for noodle soup every time! They never make their food too spicy, they prefer to serve soy sauce and chili sauce on the side for you to add yourself according to your own taste. Here I usually sneak a dash of sweet chili sauce.What a delicious way to start the day, especially if one wants to keep clear of bread, and keep the taste buds tingling until lunch time.

Serves 2


·         100g of defrosted frozen prawns
·         1 organic chicken stock cube
·         100g of rice noodles
·         1 carrot, shaved with vegetable peeler
·         2 tsbp of chopped mint
·         2 tbsp of chopped coriander
·         1 garlic clove grated
·         ½ a deseeded red chilli, diced finely
·         1 inch size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
·         1 tbsp of brown sugar
·         Juice of 1 lime
·         1 piece of lemongrass, bruised, chopped finely
·         2 tomatoes, chopped.
·         2 lime leaves, chopped
·         1 green pepper, sliced thinly
·         Handful of spinach leaves

·         ½ tbsp of cumin powder


1.       Get all your ingredients prepped. Then to a pan, add the garlic, chilli, ginger, tomatoes, lemongrass, cumin with some a few sprays of low cal spray for approx 5 minutes on a medium heat.
2.       Add the stock cube to 500ml of boiling water and add to the pan.
3.       Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes.
4.       Add the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.
5.       Add the defrosted prawns and carrot strips and simmer until they are warmed through.
6.       Finish with the chopped mint and coriander.
7.       Serve with a soup spoon and chopsticks.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shabby Chic Blueberry Cupcakes

So here it is, the long awaited blueberry cupcake recipe from the old fashioned tea party. I, unfortunately cannot take credit for these. These are the sole creation of my favourite sister, Tracy..........though I did lend the use of my precious Magimix to be fair!


Blueberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 5ml natural extract
  • 450g sifted icing sugar
  • 40ml of cold water
  • 2 drops of blue food colouring

Sponge Cupcake
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 medium free range eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 5ml of natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of blueberry puree
Blueberry Puree
  • 250g of fresh blueberries (plus extra for decoration)


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and put some cupcake cases in the bun trays
  2. Using a hand held blender, blitz the blueberries to a puree.
  3. Using a food processor, add sugar, the flour sieved, and extract , blitz together until mixed well. You can do this by hand if you do not have a food processor.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, using pulse button. Then add the blueberry puree, and pulse again.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cases and place in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched.
  6. Meanwhile to make the frosting, beat the butter until soft in a cleaned food processor, and then gradually beat in the icing sugar and water together, add in the food colouring and the vanilla extract and mixture until you have the desired consistency.
  7. When the buns are ready , remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  8. Do not put the frosting on whilst still warm as it will only melt.

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