Friday, 16 June 2017

10 Things Slimming World Has Taught Me

1. Eating Huge Quantities Of Fruit And Veg Won't Kill You.
At first it will feel as though your guts will explode but you have to trust me that your digestive system will cope and adjust given enough time.
2. Your IBS Will Get Better.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is aggravated by a diet that lacks fibre and nutrition. All that internal fat pressing down on the guts doesn't help either. My IBS practically disappeared when I hit my 5 stone award.
3. Do Not Eat Sweets.
You'll see loads of postings on social media about low syn sweets such as Mini Skittles and Squashies. In my experience once I start munching on sweets I can't stop until the shame of the next gain at weigh in wakes me up. Sugar is addictive period.
4. Avoid Alcohol.
Unless you are made of mental steel one drink will lead to two, then three until you're drunk and found munching every kind of wrong out of the cupboards.
5. Take Lots Of Photos.
I know you won't feel like it at the start but pics are great to look back on when you hit your targets, Its easy to make then and now pics on a photo app for bragging on social media about your fantastic progress.
6. Oats Are Your Friend.
Whether you make overnight oats, oaty pancakes, baked oats or overnight oats, oats will keep you going all day if necessary and this is crucial if to avoid snacking. I make overnight oats when I know I wont have time to make breakfast in the morning and baked oats on days off, porridge on cold winter mornings and oaty pancakes on long lazy Sundays.
7. You Will Become A Food Detective.
Not all ready made foods are equal. There are some tortellini you can get with very few syns and there are others that are loaded with calories and therefore syns. You will be found standing in the supermarket with a packet in one hand and the slimming world app open in the other. And like a true expert you will suddenly start advising your Slimming World friends at group.
8. Your Breathing Will Improve
When I first went to group I couldn't breathe, I caught the bus to group which was quarter of a mile away and to my horror I found the group was upstairs! I seriously considered using the lift but thought that was beyond embarrassing so I huffed and puffed up two flights of stairs. Now I run up and down stairs and walk for miles.
9. You Don't Need To Be Afraid Of The Scales Any More.
Weigh in days make you accountable. There's no guilt with Slimming World so weighing in isn't about fear its about taking responsibility for the week before and making a plan for the week ahead. Every day has a reset button if you wander off plan. With Slimming World you can eat what you want when you want, there are no banned foods.
10. You'll Be Turned Off By Junk Food
Once all that healthy nutritious fruit and veg gets into your system you'll start to feel better, your body will adapt and take the energy it needs from cleaner food. Your palate will get used to the taste of fresh food and given time fatty, salty and even sugary refined foods will taste off putting.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Lemon and Cardamon Blueberry Pancake Stack

Overnight oats are alright but sometimes I want something more, more satisfying, more indulgent. This is basically the same ingredients as overnight oats done in a different way using lemon and cardamon, a classic flavour pairing often found in Indian sweets. I like a drizzle of something so I thought I'd experiment with this lush Marks and Spencer Lemon Curd Sauce because lemon curd out of a jar just dollops and that's just not the same. You can leave it off if you don't want the syns or simply mix some lemon juice into the yogurt.

Lemon and Cardamon Blueberry Pancake Stack

Syns: 3.5 If using oats as a Healthy Extra


35g Oats
200g Plain Fat Free Yogurt
2 Eggs (Beaten)
2 Tbsp Granulated Sweetener
Grated Zest Of 1 Lemon
1 Tsp Cardamon Seeds
A Few Drops Of Lemon Essence (Optional)

To serve

A handful of blueberries, a generous spoon of plain or flavoured syn free yogurt and a drizzle of Marks and Spencer Lemon Dessert Sauce.


After carefully weighing the oats into a bowl, stir in the lemon zest and cardamon pods.

Add the yogurt and stir well.

Fold in the beaten eggs then the sweetener and essence.

Leave the pancake mixture overnight in the fridge (its worth being patient to let the oats absorb the yogurt and yummy flavours.)

In the morning, heat a frying pan and spray with Frylight.

Put spoonfuls of pancake batter in the pan and fry until brown and cooked through.

Place layers of pancake, fruit and yogurt in a bowl or on a plate and drizzle over the lemon dessert sauce.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Prawn & Tomato Tortillini For Two

Tortellini is a kind of filled pasta that cooks in about 5 minutes making it a useful standby for work days, however many varieties have a very high syn value but after doing some research I found a couple that don't rate too highly. I only buy tortellini when it's on offer to save the pennies. On its own it's bland and uninteresting, after much thinking over what to do with tortellini I came up with this quick and easy recipe.

I like to eat this with steamed sugar snap peas and spiralized courgette.

Prawn & Tomato Tortillini For Two

200g Tortellini (Low syn varieties include M&S or Sainsbury's fresh ricotta & spinach 3 syns per 100g)
Fry Light
1 Onion (Chopped)
1 Pack Cooked Prawns (I use the cheapest)
Small Punnet Cherry Tomatoes
Tub of 0% Fat Creme Fraiche
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1 Clove Garlic (Crushed)
Shake of Paprika
Black Pepper
Parsley or Basil

Cook the tortellini in boiling water per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan and spray with Fry Light then add the onion. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft and golden.

Stir in the garlic and paprika, crumble in the stock cube with a little hot water from a recently boiled kettle and cook for 1 minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar if you have some if not another splash of hot water from the kettle will do. Stir, then add the creme fraiche and stir again until everything is mixed nicely. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Add the prawns, half the cherry tomatoes then add them and season with black pepper.

Finally add the cooked tortellini and heat thoroughly.

Garnish with parsley or basil and serve.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Pork kokkinisto

I used to make this recipe with belly pork slices but they're too fatty for Slimming World so I adapted it to a lower fat version using lean diced pork from Morrisons. I found some 3p yellow sticker fresh basil in Tesco (basil doesn't always have to be Italian, right?) but dried would do just as well.

I adapted Jack Monroe's Pork Kokkinisto to match ingredients in my cupboard rather than go out to the shops (again) and spend more money! The original recipe uses wine which is too high syn so guessing this is a sweetish dish needing something acidic to counter the pork, I plumped for balsamic vinegar to replace the wine's flavour and stock to replace the wine's volume.

I like to serve this dish with rice but potatoes and some green beans work well too.

Pork kokkinisto

1 Pack of Lean Diced Pork
Fry Light
1 Onion (Sliced)
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Sweetener
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
300ml Boiling Water
Bay Leaf
Shake of Dried Parsley
Black Pepper
Handful of Fresh Basil

Heat a large frying pan, when heated spray with Fry Light and add the diced pork. Fry until all the edges of the meat are sealed and beginning to turn golden brown.

Reduce the heat and add the sliced onion, cook for a further 3-4 minutes so the onions release their flavour and soften.

Add the tomatoes and sweetener. Stir well.

Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water then add to the tomato sauce. Stir in.

Add any dried herbs, a good grinding of black pepper and the balsamic vinegar, stir again.

Turn up the heat to bring back to a simmer then reduce the heat until the dish is blipping nicely.

Leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

Finally add the fresh basil and serve with potatoes or rice.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Courgette and Cauliflower Fritters

I work in a pub and sometimes my job has wonderful perks like when customers bring me lovely fresh veggies from their gardens and allotments. This week I was given a huge bunch of rosemary some of which I put with lamb shoulder and a cauliflower. Here's what I did with the cauliflower.

These fritters are great as a snack but would also go great with a salad.

Courgette and Cauliflower Fritters

Fry Light
3 Dessertspoons of Plain or S.R Flour (it doesn't really matter which) 3 Syns
2 Eggs
Generous Splash of Milk if you have some left from your HExA or Unsweetened Almond Milk if you don't.
1 Courgette
1 Cauliflower
2 Spring onions
Black pepper

The Batter

Put the Flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs, mix together.
Add milk until the batter reaches the right consistency, it should plop off the spoon without being runny.
Set aside to rest.

The Veggies

Boil or steam the cauliflower for 2 minutes, drain then run under a cold tap to flash cool before setting aside to drain completely.
Grate the courgette with the largest holes on your grater. Squeeze the courgette gently to get rid of some of the excess water.
Slice the spring onion.
Chop the parsley

The Fritters

Add the veggies to the rested batter, season with black pepper and parsley or chilli flakes if you prefer something a bit more pokey.

Heat a frying pan and spray with Fry Light.
Add a dessertspoonful of mixture per fritter to the pan making sure they don't touch each other.
Cook until the top sets then flip over and cook until golden brown.
Carry on like this cooking in batches until all the mixture is used up.

Serve with some creme fraiche, fat free yogurt or syn some sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Black Forest Brogurt for 20p - Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt and No Butter Brownies

This recipe was a complete accident! I was having a bad day - the kind that only rich, dark, lush chocolate can put right, it was late evening and there was nothing sweet in the house so I grabbed a brownie recipe and set to making them while arguing with my ex (again) about why it would never work between us. I chucked the eggs in a bowl, beat the hell out of them with a whisk (rather than bashing my ex over the head with it) beat in the sugar, melted the chocolate then folded that in with the flour and cocoa. I banged it in the oven and left it to cook. It wasn't until the brownies were cooked that I realised I had forgotten the butter! I could tell straight away from the way the brownies looked but I couldn't remake them because I had used all the ingredients in this batch and I'm not into waste so i thought 'oh well' and ate one. Wow! I had just made the best brownies ever, rich, indulgent and chewy. The following day I thought ' I bet these taste great with that frozen berry yogurt I made the other day' and so Black Forest Brogurt was born.

Black Forest Brogurt for 20p - Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt and No Butter Brownies

For The Frozen Yogurt - £1.95 (10p a scoop)

400g Frozen Mixed Berries - £1.30
500g Plain Yogurt - 45p
100ml Milk - 5p
1 Tbsp Runny Honey - 15p

Put the frozen berries into a food mixer (no need to defrost)
Add the yogurt and milk then blitz until smooth.
Stir through the honey adjusting to taste.
Put into a suitable freezable container and freeze for an hour.
Fork over then freeze overnight until solid.

Adding alcohol keeps the yogurt from freezing too hard making it easier to serve but adds to the cost.

For The Dark Chocolate Brownies - £1.83 (10p a square)

200g Dark Chocolate - 60p
3 Eggs - 39p
250g Dark Muscavado Sugar - 75p
40g S R Flour - 1p
10g Cocoa Powder - 8p

Preheat oven to 190 degrees or gas mark 5
Line a shallow square tin with greaseproof paper
Put the chocoalte in a bowl and sit the bowl over a pan of hot water on a low light (do not let the water boil) to melt the chocolate
While the chocolate is melting whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy the slowley add the muscovado sugar and whisk in until its all incorporated and the mixture has thickened.
Fold in the melted chocolate.
Fold in the sieved flour.
Carefully pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 30 -35 minutes until the top forms a brownie crust.
Allow to cool and cut into 20 squares.

Serve with the mixed berry frozen yogurt for a fabulous black forest experience.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Creamy Mushroom and Pea Masala Serves 3 - £1.91

Creamy Mushroom and Pea Masala Serves 3 - £1.91


1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil - 2p
1 Onion - 6p
1 Clove of Garlic - 1p
1 Tsp Dried Ginger - 6p
1 Red Chilli - 15p
1 Tsp Ground Coriander - 3p
1 Tsp Garam Masala - 3p
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes - 35p
200g Plain Yogurt - 18p
200g of Frozen Peas - 20p
300g Mushrooms - 82p


Chop the mushrooms into bite size pieces and fry them in some of the oil until soft, when cooked set the mushrooms aside and clean the pan to reuse for the rest of the recipe
Dice the onion and fry in the rest of the oil until soft
Chop the garlic and chilli (deseeding the chilli if you don't want the curry to be too hot) and add to the onion
Stir in the ginger, coriander and garam masala to make a paste with the onions
Add the chopped tomatoes and peas plus half a cup of water, stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes to reduce
Finally add the cooked mushrooms and stir through the coconut or yogurt.
Serve with rice or naans

I bought the mushrooms loose because that way they are cheaper than their pre-packed equivalent

Swap the yogurt for coconut milk for a richer curry

Use fresh grated ginger instead of ground ginger if you have it

All prices correct at date and time of publication using Tesco and Sainsburys Value and Basics Ranges