Category Archives: Recipies

My Putanesca (Slut)Sauce

This is a batch recipe. I make this in batches and freeze what I don’t need right away. It makes good 6 portions of sauce to be used as is, over pasta (or pasta substitutes such as vegetti or Konjac noodles etc) or you can use 1 portion per person, to add as a base sauce for the likes of Chilli Con Carne or Spag Bol – just add your meat (about 125g per person as a guide) and some herbs and spices or whatever and you’re good to go. I even use it sometimes as a sauce to poach chicken breasts in in the oven.

It takes a while to make, but the slow oven roasting of the toms gives a MUCH better flavour IMO.

Stage 1
1800g cherry (or baby plum) tomatoes
3 red bell peppers
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Stage 2
2 large onions
1 jar Tesco sliced black olives (drained)
3 tsp Tesco chilli puree (or 3mild chillies)
4 cloves garlic
6 anchovies
500ml Tesco Value Passata

Method
Pre-heat oven to 200C and set 3 shelves equally spaced

  • Halve the tomatoes, roughly chop the bell peppers, and place in a large mixing bowl
  • Pour over the 4 tbsp EVOO, add the paprika and season with salt and black pepper to taste, and mi well to coat everything thoroughly. Add the dried basil and oregano and give everything another stir. Tip out onto 3 large rimmed baking sheets and spread out evenly over the surface. Add more herbs to taste.
  • Place baking sheets in the oven and close the door. Give it a minute for the oven to come back to temperature from having the door open, then turn the oven off. Leave for at least 2 – 3 hours (or overnight) AND DON’T PEEK!!Once the tomatoes are done and cooled..
  • working in batches, blitz the cooked tomatoes and peppers in a blender / FP until smooth.
  • Using a large pan (I use a 40cm Spanish Sarten with lid – but any pan that will hold at least 3.5 litres liquid will do) heat the 1 tbsp EVOO, then saute the onions, slice or smash the garlic and add to the pan, then add the chilli puree.
  • Cook and stir until the onion softens and just starts to caramelise, then add the anchovies. Warm them and mush them against the side of the pan to make a paste, then mix in. (if you don’t like/have anchovies you can substitute for 1 tsp Thai fish sauce per 2 anchovies)
  • Drain then add the olives, then the passata and heat through.
  • Next add the blitzed tomato-pepper mix and stir well.
  • Heat it all through and simmer to thicken – about 20 minutes with a loose lid works well for me.

So there you go, make with it what you will 🙂

Nutritional breakdown from myfitnesspal.com

Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 344
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12 g 18 %
Saturated Fat 3 g 13 %
Monounsaturated Fat 9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg 1 %
Sodium 197 mg 8 %
Potassium 2307 mg 66 %
Total Carbohydrate 37 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 14 g 57 %
Sugars 32 g
Protein 10 g 20 %
Vitamin A 188 %
Vitamin C 323 %
Calcium 9 %
Iron 17 %

Most miffed!

Well today I am not a happy bunny! After a few weeks break for Christmas and New Year, and my birthday, and a friend’s birthday, and HIS 40th birthday… and all the “meals out” that ensued, I have come back to my diet website http://www.caloriecount.com to find a big splash notice saying they’re shutting down the site in March – BOOO! – and a lot of the site features are already disabled.
(I’ll do another post about how I did over Christmas, and my Xmas Day menu -all VLCD foods and GF too!)
So now begins a frantic copying of ALL my meals and recipes that I’ve uploaded on there (and hopefully the values are still there) before the site goes.
The forum boards are in uproar as there are a lot of peeps on there that have been using the site for over a decade, have made friends, both on and off-line, and created a little community of their own, which I think is really lovely. They’ve supported each other and even gone so far as helping each other putting kids through school and  helped pay funeral costs for friends they’ve lost along the way!

Yes the site was free, but it’s annoyed me that they’re closing, and I’ve only been using it 6 months. I can only imagine how these groups are feeling – as one forum poster said; they’d lost some friends to illnesses etc over the years, before the likes of Facebook, and the only thing left of them now are their online journals, and soon they’ll be gone. So sad.
Whilst these sites ARE a great resource for users, it is infuriating that they just close down on a whim, it seems, and don’t think about the impact their decisions have on the users.

A lot of the CC users have migrated to myfitnesspal.com -myself included, so that’s where my nutritional info for my recipes will be obtained from now on.

Right rant over, soap box away, normal service shall resume shortly…

Recipe! Spiced Apple & Walnut Brownies. 

Sinfully dark chocolate brownies in a low carb, gluten free version. Perfect for curbing those pesky sweetie cravings when you’re dieting 😉

Ingredients

  • 2 small apples , cored & diced, skin on.
  • 1tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Small knob of unsalted butter
  • 60g dates, pitted & finely chopped
  • Approx 6 Tblsp hot water
  • 60g coconut oil, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 60g pure cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
  • 50g walnuts, smashed with a flat bladed knife.

I use a silicone soap bar mould (which I’ve naturally never used for soaps) to make these as I wanted bite sized ones (see end for mould details) , but you can use a traditional 20cm square baking tin and cut them to whatever size you like. Makes approx 44 mini bars.

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease up the mould with a little coconut oil.

Place the chopped dates in a small saucepan and add just enough hot water to cover. Simmer gently for about 5 mins then set aside.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, melt the knob of butter.

Toss the apples in the spices then add to the frying pan. Fry on a medium heat for approx 5 mins or until they just start to brown, then add to the dates. Allow to cool for a few mins.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with a mixer, then add in the melted coconut oil, almond flour, dates and apples (including any juices) and the cocoa powder. Mix well, scraping the sides down, until a lumpy thick batter forms. Lastly stir in the walnuts.

Spoon into the mould, giving it a little shake to settle it. Fill the cavaties to just about full.

You’ll have to bake in 2-3 batches at 10 minutes each. (I’d suggest turning the tray around half way through to eliminate any cold zones in your oven) Once done pop them out of the mould onto a wire rack to cool, then refill the mould with more mix and back into the oven (no need to wash and re-grease between batches).

If for the last batch you only have enough mix to fill a few cavities, put it in the centre ones first as this ensures a more even bake. IMO.

If you’re using a traditional baking tin, bake for 20 mins, then check the middle to see if a tooth pick comes out clean. (I’ve never done them this way so this is a guesstimated time) Once done turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Nutrition per mini bar

  • Kcal 50
  • Protein 1.5g
  • Carbs 3.8g
  • Fat 3.8g
  • Fibre 1.1g

Serving tip: For a quick choccie fix, I have 2 bars with a tablespoonful Greek yogurt= 140kcal per dish.

BTW – if you want to get the mould I used (shown in 2nd picture) I actually got it from their Ebay store, but this is it on their website:
http://www.siliconemoulds.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=14227865

Or check out SiliconeMoulds.com on Blogspot (that’s their official blog) for recipes and tutorials.

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Recipe! Cottage Pie with Celeriac Mash Topping

My adaptation of a recipe in “The 8-week Blood Sugar Diet recipe book” by Dr Claire Bailey & Dr Sarah Schenker
My own twist on their dish – I altered a few ingredients and changed the “cauli-mash” topping for a cheesy leek and celeriac puree.
Only 402 kcal per serving; 19g carbs. For anyone on a Diabetic / VLCD diet – you’re welcome 😉 (all ingredients sourced from Tesco’s)

Ingredients:
15 grams Extra Virgin Olive Oil
120 grams (1 medium)Brown Onion, diced
500 grams Minced Beef (18% fat)
4 grams Chunky Garlic Paste (Gourmet Garden)
1.2 grams Dried Thyme
400 grams (1 tin) Chopped Tomatoes
5 grams Worcestershire Sauce
100 grams Carrot Batons, diced
150 grams Frozen Garden Peas
2 x  Bay Leaf
700 grams Celeriac, (1 whole, peeled and diced)
60 grams (4 TBLsp)  Creme Fraiche, Full Fat
70 grams (approx 1/2) Leek, diced
75 grams Cathedral City (Full Fat) Grated Mature Cheddar

Method:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onion until golden, then add the beef mince, garlic and thyme.
  • When the meat is cooked through, add in the peas, carrots, tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce, then add enough water to cover the mix and sit the bay leaves on top, just in the water.
  • Put on the lid and simmer for an hour. Stir and check water level occasionally, add a few tblsp more if needed.
To make the topping:
  •  Boil a large pan of water, then add the diced celeriac and simmer for 20 – 25 mins, until it slides off easily when pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to cool.
  • Place the celeriac in a food processor and blitz. Add the creme fraiche, leek and half the cheddar and keep blitzing and scraping down until you achieve a thick “Humus consistency” puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.
 Once the mince is done, pre-heat your oven to 200 C and set a shelf just below the middle.
  • Spoon the meat mix into a large oven proof dish (or split between 3x 2lb loaf tins for ease of portioning later) and top with the celeriac puree. I find it easier to use an icing piping bag with a large nozzle, other wise I get mash dumplings!
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheddar over the top and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the cheese is melted and golden and the topping becomes slightly crusty.
 2016-11-13-17-40-51
Serve with steamed green veggies. ENJOY! (You can thank me later 😉 )
For all the nutrition and calorie values and what not, go here:
(I uploaded all the ingredients and worked it all out already per portion)
TIP: This serves 6, so I divide mine up between 3x 2lb loaf tins as there’s only 2 of us and it’s easier to divide those into 2 portions than working out 1 sixth of a dish.
– You can fridge / freeze the rest for another meal. To re-heat, defrost fully, then cook at 150 C for 25 – 30 mins (or until a core temp of 75 C is reached) with a loose piece of foil on top to prevent the top burning.
You could make this Veggie by using Quorn mince, or use a mixture of roughly chopped mushrooms in place of meat
Made it? Liked it? Hated it? Tweaked it?  Leave me a comment!

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Recipe – Cream of Mushroom Soup -Pan and Soup Maker methods- And Garlic Croutons!

I bought some mushrooms last time I went to the Asian market, with the intention of using them to make a bolognese sauce, which didn’t get made as I froze the mince by accident, DOH! Anyway, I had these 2 punnets of mushrooms sitting there, so thought  “Mushroom soup! ~ Always a winner, and I can use my fab Soup Maker”.
I only actually used 1 punnet for the recipe, but ended up making a 2nd batch of soup in the end as we finished the first lot off  in one day! In my defense, it is rather more-ish and we had it for lunch and dinner.

I’ve made this before in a pan, so have posted both versions of the recipe; my original pan method and the Soup Maker method.  (pics are for the machine method) You get about 1 litre of soup doing it in the machine, but it is slightly thinner in consistency than making it in the pan.

MsoupIngredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 Punnet (250g) mushrooms chopped
  • 2 shallots/1 med white onion chopped
  • 4″ approx of a large leek, chopped
  • 2 tblsp butter or ghee
  • 400ml chicken stock
    (or 2 cubes made up with 400ml hot water)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ can coconut milk (100ml)
  • good pinch nutmeg
  • (approx 200ml hot water- machine)

Instructions: In a Pan

  1. On a medium heat melt the butter in a large pan and sauté onions and leek for about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes, until the onion is soft and clear.
  2. Reduce heat slightly and stir in the coconut flour slowly, so a roux forms that is thick and bubbly. (NB it will look more grainy than using regular flour)
  3. Make up the chicken stock as per it’s instructions (usually about 1 cube per 180 – 200mls hot water). Gradually add in the chicken stock, stirring and simmering for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the nutmeg and mix in, season with salt and pepper to taste – NB: if you’re using a salty stock you might want to omit extra salt!
  5. Lastly stir in the coconut milk and cook through for a couple of minutes.
  6. Eat!

——————————————————- OR ———————————————————————–

In a Soup Maker Machine (chunky soup setting using the filter)

Chop the veg into small pieces

MsoupChopped

Dry mix the onion, leek and coconut flour together, then spoon into the filter. Put the mushrooms outside the filter.

MsoupLoadIngr

Make up the stock with 400mls hot water and melt the butter in it,

MsoupPrepStock

then pour into the machine -make sure to pour into filter as well as around outside!

MsoupPouring

Add another 200mls hot water (or fill up to SOUP MAX line).

MsoupInMachine

Put machine on CHUNKY mode – will cook and blend for approx 30 minutes.

When finished remove the filter and add the nutmeg and coconut milk, then blend a few times to mix in.

-NB: as this is quite a thin soup, make sure you use BLEND at the end – as I found out, PULSE starts off on full pelt, and can shoot soup out of the spout of the jug !! Talk about a “hot mess” LOL

(sorry I actually forgot to take a pic of the end result, but it was yummy! )

Croutons??

I don’t eat bread but, if you like croutons, this is a great way to use up any stale bread you might have:

(makes ample for 2 people, uses 2 slices (of any) bread)

Mix 1tsp garlic purée with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or melted butter),
Use a pastry brush to paint on both sides of your bread, don’t forget to do the crusts as well!
Grill for a few minutes each side on a foil lined baking sheet until bread is a light golden brown.
Use a sharp knife to cut into 1cm squares, and toss in any remaining garlic/oil mix.
Return to the baking sheet and toast for another 2 mins until crispy.

You can freeze these for future use; use from frozen, the heat of your hot soup will defrost them within seconds 😉

Top Tip: Gourmet Garden herb and spice tubes

If you saw my recipe yesterday (cream of tomato and red pepper soup) you will have seen my pic showing the ingredients, and 2 little gems I found in Tesco – namely my Gourmet Garden crushed garlic paste and chopped basil paste tubes.

I don’t know how long these have been going, but I only came across them recently in my local village Tesco Metro, and they’ve been a quick and easy “no mess, no fuss” helper when cooking. One tsp is the equivalent of about 1 clove of garlic, or tsp of herbs, and they’re so easy to use. Best of all is no stained chopping board or stinky garlic fingers!

They were £1.69 a tube at my local Tesco, and not all branches stock all varieties (my little Tesco only has the garlic, basil and ginger, but they also have the Thai Spice Seasoning, Coriander Paste and Chilli Paste at the bigger Tesco up in Farnworth).

Apparenty they do make more pastes in the herbs and spices and in the seasoning mixes, if you visit their website: http://www.gourmetgarden.com/en-gb  you’ll see there’s quite a few, and there’s also info on what goes into them and how they’re made. They also have a handy “store locator” to show you who stocks them. It would seem that Ocado have the best range, but I don’t know if they deliver here. It would be easier if you could just buy them direct I suppose from their website. Maybe I’ll suggest that on their Facebook page!

Anyway, that’s my tip for today, off down to Tesco to buy more garlic paste!

Recipe: Cream of Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

I’ve had my lovely Andrew James soup maker for a few months now, (bargain at under £50!) and have used it’s various attachments (grinder, steamer) but not gotten around to using it for soups yet. So, this was a recipe test and road test in one. The machine worked brilliantly and the resulting soup was a big hit.
Here’s what I did…

image

Ingredients:
2 large vine tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 medium sweet potato
1 small white onion
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp vegetable boullion (dry powder)
3 tsp garlic puree
3 tsp basil puree
Drizzle of olive oil
500ml cold water

★ As per the machines instructions, chop all the veg into small cubes. (About 1-2cm)
★ Add the veg to the blender jug, taking care to no go over the “max soup” line.
★ Next add in the drizzle of oil, the vegetable boullion, and the garlic and basil puree, then pour the water in over the top. Easy-peasy!
★ Place the jug onto the base, press  the on/off button, and press the “Soup Smooth” button.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH.. (drumroll please…)

image

Ta-da!
The machine makes a few beeps at you, then starts the cooking cycle.
It cooks first, then pulses and blends to give you a nice smooth soup.

image

★  After the cycle has finished, the machine beeps several times to let you know it’s done. This is where you add the coconut milk. Just pop off the lid, pour it in (or spoon if it’s a good quality thick one like I use) then press the “Blend” button to mix it in.
And you’re done!
Serve up while it’s hot with a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top.

image

Overall result?
Took about 40 minutes from getting everything out of the fridge to serving up.
I did have few little niggles with the machine: it’s a little fiddly to locate the jug correctly onto the base (however it helps if you actually read the instructions fully, as it tells you specifically how to attach it) but once I’d sussed it out its easy enough; and the beeper is a bit strident in my opinion, but other than that it was really easy to use.
I do like that fact that it is self-washing; makes cleaning it really easy and you’re not risking the ends of your fingers on those blades!
Also the “Re-heat” function is a great idea. I made this soup mid morning, but we have our lunch late most days, so I can just leave it in the jug and warm it up as required.
Would I Recommend It To A Friend?
Already have. And I’m thinking of getting one for someone for Christmas too. (Shhhh! )

Nan’s Winter Jam by The Cats Mother

A fantastic spiced plum jam, great on toast, or for winter mornings add a few dollops in your porridge! The original recipe, which was my Nan’s and originally in imperial measurements, was for as much sugar as fruit, but I converted it to metric, lowered the sugar and added vanilla essence instead, and use 1/2 sugar, 1/2 Splenda and it works just as well. You just get more like a very thick chutney consistency, rather than a set jam.

Ingredients

Makes: 3 450g jars (roughly)
  • 1.3 kilos pitted and roughly chopped (victoria) plums
  • 500 grams Caster Sugar
  • 50 grams Splenda (or other sugar sub to equiv of 500g of sugar)
  • 5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tsp vanilla essence

Preparation method

Prep: 30 mins | Cook: 30 mins

1.
Put oven on to 120* C and while it’s warming up pop your jars on a baking sheet and place them on the bottom shelf. Leave in for at least half an hour (good idea to do this, then start chopping and stoning the plums) Also place lids (if you’re using them) in a pan of water and fill to top. Then put on to boil for at least 5 mins to sterilise them. Pop a few (metal) table spoons into the freezer (to test the jam when it’s ready)
2.
Place all ingredients into a large pan (I use my pressure cooker without the lid) give everything a really good mix and put onto to boil, stirring every few minutes. Be careful as it will start to spit as it gets nearer the boiling point! Let it boil for a few minutes, then turn down to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
3.
Take one of the spoons from the freezer and dip into the pan. Remove it and (over the sink) hold vertically and blow on it – if it ripples and stays on the spoon it’s ready. If not cook a little longer and try again.
4.
Take a hot jar from the oven, fill with the jam mixture to about 1cm from the top and wipe jar rim clean with moist kitchen towel. Screw lid on tight, place to one side and fill next jar until all are done.
5.
Any jars you intend to store for future use should be boiled for about 10 minutes in a big pan of water (make sure the jars stay upright and are fully submerged at least an inch). This is also known as “processing in a hot water bath.” As they cool the “button” on the lid (the one that doesn’t flex when the jar’s sealed) should pop in and not flex. Store somewhere cool and dark once cooled.
6.
If you are planning to use the jam straight away, allow to cool for about 2 hours at room temp, then place in the fridge. Or if you’re like me, make a brew, slap some on a slice of bread and butter while it’s still hot, and ENJOY!!
7.
Once opened jars will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks -if it lasts that long!

This recipe/method also works equally well with blackberry and apple jam!

Plum Jam.jpg
made with Victoria Plums from the back garden!