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

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Rustic creamy mashed potatoes (Slimming World friendly)

I love these potatoes and so easy to make you don't even peel the potatoes but you have to choose the right variety of potato. I use Marabel which I buy in ASDA which are thin skinned but suitable for mashing. I have used the red rooster potatoes too they are very good.

The picture also shows the turkey meatloaf  which I served with the mash and the recipe for that can be found by clicking here

Rustic creamy mashed potatoes

1 kg potatoes (see notes above)
1/2 tub quark
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 bunch chives (chopped)
salt and pepper

Cut the potatoes into smallish chunks and cook in boilng salted water until tender. Drain well and while still hot add the quark, chopped chives and beaten egg and mash, You aren't looking for a smooth mash because the skins give it texture (hence the rustic name!) Season with salt and pepper about a tsp of each and mix very well.

Syn free

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Hunters Chicken (Slimming World friendly)

I love this recipe it feels so naughty but it's not if you use the cheese as your healthy extra it is syn free.

To make it I use my homemade BBQ sauce you can find the recipe for that here (just click on the word 'here') it's really easy to make and worth making and keeping it in your fridge.

 If not using the cheese as a healthy extra 25g reduced fat cheddar cheese is 4 syns but as a healthy extra you can have 40g of reduced fat cheddar cheese.

All the quantities are per person.

Hunters Chicken

1 chicken breast
2 smoked bacon medallions
4 tbsp homemade Slimming World friendly BBQ sauce
40g reduced fat cheddar cheese (healthy extra)

Wrap the bacon around the chicken breast and place in an ovenproof dish. Spoon over the BBQ sauce to cover the chicken and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Place in an oven Gas 6/200/400 for 25-30 minutes until cheese is browned. I served with potato wedges and salad.

Enjoy :)

Friday, 26 August 2016

Tasty turkey meatloaf (Slimming World friendly)

This meatloaf recipe is one of my families favourite dinners and it's simple to make just mix and place in a loaf tin for an hour while you can get on and do other things.

The cooked onion mixture makes the meatloaf really savoury and I left out breadcrumbs to save syns and don't think you notice the difference .

 I served this with bisto best onion gravy 2. 1/2 syns for 142ml and veg and another comfort food my version of sour cream and chive mashed potato (recipe to follow another day : )


500g turkey mince (less than 5% fat)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 chicken stock cube (crumbled)
100ml water
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg (beaten)
Low calorie spray oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Spray a small frying pan with spray oil and fry the onions gently sprinkled with salt until onions are soft.

Add stock cube, water, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée and pepper and simmer until almost all the stock has absorbed. Leave to cool for 10 minutes .

Place mince in a bowl with the beaten egg and add the onion mixture and mix very well. You can use your hands or a food mixer.

Place in a loaf tin sprayed with oil or use a silicone one. .

Bake on gas 6/200/400 for 1 hour.

Syn free

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Nigella praised chicken

This recipe I first saw Nigella make on an episode of 'Kitchen' and thought at the time it looked so lovely and tasty and a brilliant way of making chicken go a long way. I honestly thought I would have to add some chicken stock cube or such like to the broth afterwards but no I think if you use good quality chicken it makes the most delicious tasty broth, If however when you make it you feel it lacks flavour feel free to add some chicken stock concentrate or a chicken stock cube. The chicken is soft and really juicy and the vegetables tender.

Nigella makes it with a whole chicken but it's very fiddly to remove the skin and fat from a whole raw chicken so I use a mixture of thighs and chicken breast and also this way if you only like chicken breast you can make it that way but I think chicken thighs have much more flavour.

I also love to reheat the next day with some broken pieces of spaghetti in so its like chicken noodle soup but be careful just make sure its reheated very well.

Oh and its called 'praised' chicken as Nigella says its a cross between braised and poached and was one of her Mothers favourite recipes so to make it seems like an act of devotion which I think sounds so lovely.

Nigellas Praised Chicken

Chicken portions or chicken thighs all fat and skin removed.
3 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
2 sticks celery (cut into chunks)
2 leeks (washed well and cut into chunks)
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1 tsp dried or a bunch of fresh parsley (chopped)
spray oil

(You need a large pot that can fit the chicken portions in comfortably with all the vegetables)

   Spray some oil into the pot and heat then place the chicken portions in for a few minutes until slightly browned.

Drop in the vegetables and herbs around the chicken with a good grinding of salt and pepper then just cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Place a lid on the pot and then simmer on a low heat for about  1 hr and then leave it sitting in the pot for another 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken portions from the pot and place on a board leave to cool for a little while and strip all the skin off and discard then carefully remove all the chicken meat from the bones cut into chunks and put the meat back into the broth.

Taste for seasoning you might need more salt and pepper.

I served it (as Nigella did) over plain boiled rice.

syn free

Friday, 5 August 2016

Easy turkey kofta kebabs

I use turkey mince a lot in cooking it's a bit lighter in taste than beef and for this recipe it helps to hold the shape of the koftas better. I know lamb is traditional for koftas but you can't really get extra lean lamb mince unless you get it minced yourself.

This is a really quick recipe too just make up the mix, shape it, pop in the oven and its ready really quickly.

I served them in a pitta bread but there aren't any healthy extra pitta breads now (there used to be) but they are also good with salad and SW friendly chips or wedges.

Easy turkey kofta kebabs

500g turkey mince (less than 5% fat)
1 red onion (grated)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves grated)
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil

Preheat the oven to gas 6 /200/400

Place all the ingredients together apart from the oil in a mixing bowl and just mix it all together really well the best method is to get your hands in and squish it all (children love doing this!)

Shape in either 8 sausage shapes or 4 large sausage shapes, Spray with oil and place in an foil lined tray or use a disposable foil tray (saves clean up later) and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until browned.

Syn free koftas (pitta bread approximately 6-7 syns if used)