Sunday, 16 October 2016

Boulangere potatoes (Slimming World friendly)

   This is a really easy recipe but looks impressive when dishing it up for dinner. It makes a nice change on a Sunday instead of roast potatoes and even though it takes a while to cook it is easy to prepare you just leave it in the oven to do it's own thing. If you aren't keen on garlic you can leave it out it still tastes good. I like thyme as a herb in this but you can vary the herbs as you like rosemary is nice with lamb or even a few dried mixed herbs. Best of all it's syn free :)

Boulangere Potatoes

4 large potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 large onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 pint vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
1 tsp thyme
2 cloves crushed garlic
low calorie spray oil

Spray a frying pan with spray oil and fry the onions until soft, Spray a large casserole dish or roasting tin with spray oil and layer the onion and potatoes with a little thyme, garlic and pepper between each layer finishing with a layer of potato.

Pour in enough stock until the potatoes are scarcely covered, you might not need it all, Then spray the top with oil and bake for 2 hours on gas 4 / 180/350 until brown and crispy,

Serve 4-6

syn free

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Easy slow cooker beef curry (Slimming World friendly)

This is an amazingly easy dinner you just throw in all in the slow cooker and when you come home from work ta-dah!! It's all ready for you : )

Slow cooker beef curry

2 lb lean diced beef
2 large onions (sliced)
1/2  tsp chili flakes (or fresh chopped chili if you prefer)
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric 
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (grated )
(or I use frozen garlic and ginger paste )
1/2 pt beef stock (from a cube is fine) 
salt to taste 

Put everything in the slow cooker stir well and cook on low for 6-8 hours . When you get home take off the lid and turn it up to high for the last hour so the sauce can thicken and reduce . Taste for seasoning in case it needs a little salt. 

syn free 

Lamb biryani (Slimming World friendly)

I love this biriyani it's so easy and means you don't have to cook rice separately for dinner. It doesn't take long to make either and also when it's cooked it sits quite happily in the pan with the lid on for a while without overcooking.

You can also make it as hot or mild as you like I tend to use a medium curry powder it's not too hot but has flavour. I have sometimes made a curry sauce to go with this but now Slimming World do the frozen chip shop curry sauce that would be lovely with this.

Lamb Biriyani

500g lean lamb (diced)
1 large onion (thickly sliced)
2 large carrots (peeled and diced)
1 pack green beans (trimmed and cut into pieces)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
thumb size piece of root ginger (grated, or use from frozen or a jar)
2 tbsp mild or medium curry powder
250g basmati rice
500ml beef or lamb stock (from a cube is fine)
low calorie spray oil

Spray a large frying pan or wok with spray oil and fry the onion until slightly soft and add the lamb, garlic and ginger and keep frying over a medium heat until the lamb has started to brown and the onions are soft.

Add the carrots and beans and sprinkle over the curry powder and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so it's just simmering. Put a lid on or cover with foil and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and check the rice is cooked it's ok if its a little firm as it will carry on cooking for a while when it's standing.  Add salt if needed (might not need it ) then cover and leave to stand for five minutes.

Serves 4-6 generously

Syn free

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Galinhada (Slimming World friendly)

I saw this recipe in the Slimming World magazine and thought would give it a go and I was really pleased with the results. It's a Brazilian dish I'd never heard of before but have made it a few times now, The only thing I did differently was not to use the saffron that's listed in the original recipe as I didn't have any in and it's really expensive so didn't want to buy it just for one recipe.

It's really tasty sort of like a paella (you use paella rice) I also changed the method slightly just to make it a bit easier and anyway the family loved it and it makes loads! I froze some and it was fine just the rice went a little soft on reheating.


8 chicken thighs (skinless and boneless cut into chunks)
2 large onions (sliced)
4 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 red pepper (deseeded and sliced)
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
250g paella rice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
650ml hot chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
150g frozen peas
low calorie spray oil

Spray a large pan with the spray oil and add the chicken, Fry over a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until chicken is browned then add the onions and garlic and fry until the onions are soft.

Stir in the peppers, paprika and rice and cook for another 3-4 minutes then add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes and then add the peas, Stir well and cover either with pan lid or some foil and leave on the heat for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 generously and is syn free :)


  I know I never really use much butter in my slimming world recipes but I've been thinking about that. I recently stopped buying low fat spreads as I have recently discovered in reality they are really not THAT different in syns to butter and the taste difference is incredible.

Most low fat spreads are 1- 1 1/2 syns a teaspoon

Butter is 2 syns a teaspoon

 Hardly any difference!!

I have noticed some of these spreads also have all sorts of oils and additives and was considering that when I'm cooking from scratch I should try and use good products as much as possible. So not a very long blog post but just wanted to put it out there. If a recipe calls for even a tablespoon of butter which may well be a what seems high 5 1/2 syns if that recipe serves 4 people then it's only just over one syn per person and the flavour will be so much better.

I also bake for friends and family luckily enough I don't have  sweet tooth and I always use butter for baking as it does give a superior bake in taste and in results. I was lucky enough to be given a new butter to try lately called Softer Butter and it's amazing. The butter is 100% butter no added oils which is what is usually added to make butters spreadable and I have no idea why it's softer it just is,

I was baking for Macmillan coffee morning for work and was making Creamy lemon oat bars (NOT Slimming World friendly!!) for a good cause and I forgot to take the butter out of the fridge to cream it with the sugar, flour and oats to make the bars base. In the past I would have microwaved it for a few  seconds but you run the risk of melting it too much. So, A good chance to try the SofterButter and it really worked! I put it in the KitchenAid straight from the fridge and it mixed beautifully I really didn't expect it to but I was impressed.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Flora Cathays Cardiff ... A review

I was lucky enough to be invited to go to the relaunch of The Flora the other week (apologies for the late review). I have never visited this pub before but found it easily a quick ten minute walk from Cathays train station and its there on the right.

First impressions were very favourable the bar area was airy and light and although not many there when we arrived the bar staff were really friendly and chatty. My friend and I decided to indulge in a couple of cocktails and they were delicious. I had a Flora Fizz which was gin based with mint and cucumber and I could really smell and taste the cucumber it was very refreshing my friend had a Strawberry cocktail which she said was gorgeous they went down very well and competitively priced at £5 each.

Our starter came out and was a deep fried breaded goats cheese which was very tasty and was served on a salad with slivers of crunchy apple which made the salad interesting and bright drizzled with a honey mustard dressing

The second course was fish goujons coated with a Barry Island IPA batter which was light and crispy, Served alongside with it was a  homemade tartare sauce which came in a cute little glass lidded jar which could have been a bit bigger to be honest as you couldn't dip into it but it was sharp with gherkins and creamy. Another dish on the board were small dishes with lamb meatballs which were lovely with a mint, honey and yogurt sauce to accompany it. Two different types of fries came along with this one lot with rosemary and garlic and the others were paprika both of which were really good my friend and I had to split them between us as we couldn't decided which we liked the best I think I fought harder for the paprika ones to be fair but they were both fab.

Our dessert was very interesting a cup of vanilla ice cream with a syrup made from Brains S.A. we were told that it was made with a the beer along with brown sugar and dark chocolate now I'm not keen on beer so was a little wary but it was to die for really dark and sticky reminded me of treacle toffee which is always a good thing.

Unfortunately due to train times we had to run to catch the train and didn't get a proper chance to thank everyone for their hospitality and by the time we left the place had really filled up and was lively with chatter, I could see there was a good selection of beers available and the wine list looked pretty good too.

It was lovely to see that an effort was made to include local ingredients on the menu and while its no where near local to me I shall definitely be paying a return visit for the food and cocktails.


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Porky sausage patties (Slimming World friendly )

You can buy Slimming World friendly sausages but to me they are sometimes a bit dry and tough, This super quick recipe makes delicious syn free sausages only thing is they aren't in skins but doesn't bother me you can roll them into sausage shapes if you prefer but I just make them into patties.

The good thing is once you have made them next time you can add more some things and less of others however you like it, I sometimes add some chili flakes or more sage just play around and see which you like best.

Porky sausage patties

500g pork mince (less than 5% fat)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil

Simply put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together REALLY well best to either use your hands or you can whizz it in the food processor just for a minute.

Just take tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls then put them in a frying pan lightly sprayed with oil then press them down lightly to make patties.

Fry over a medium heat for a bout 5 minutes each side. Check they are thoroughly cooked through but try not to overcook or they will be dry.

Makes about 8

Syn free