Friday, 29 January 2016

Creamy bacon and mushroom spaghetti carbonara ( Slimming World friendly )

This recipe is super quick and delicious, You only need a few ingredients to make this but just need to remember one important point ... keep a cup of pasta water!

(Not a mug just a cup if you only have a mug then it's about half a mug)

Sounds odd I know but it is what makes the sauce so creamy and smooth. I now keep a empty cup in the colander so I remember before I drain the pasta to keep a cup of the pasta water.

This takes only a few minutes but gives you a creamy luscious sauce with no syns :)

Creamy bacon and mushroom carbonara

1 pack (200g) smoked bacon medallions (cut into strips)
100g mushrooms (sliced)
1 tub quark
2 large eggs
1 pack dried spaghetti
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water as instructions on pack and while this is cooking take a  frying pan sprayed with oil and fry the bacon and mushrooms together until cooked through.

Place the quark and eggs into a large jug and whisk together thoroughly (takes a little time but it does become smooth after a few minutes). Add 1 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt and whisk again.

Once cooked , Drain the spaghetti in a colander  ( PLEASE  remember to keep back a cup of the water the pasta was cooked in). Place the drained spaghetti back in the saucepan and add everything else in, The egg mixture, the cupful of pasta water and the bacon and mushrooms and mix everything together really well for a few minutes.

Serves 4 and is syn free :)

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Slow cooker saucy shredded chicken (Slimming World friendly)

We all love BBQ pulled pork but did you know you can do the same with chicken? I prefer to call it shredded chicken pulled chicken sounds a bit odd to me but it's basically the same thing.

I use my BBQ cola sauce for this you can find that recipe here and I find it works really well, The chicken is so easy to make just put everything in the slow cooker and it's done in a few hours.

BBQ shredded chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 large onion (sliced)
BBQ cola sauce ( for the recipe for that click here )

Just place everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours , Take off the lid an hour before serving and turn up to high to let the sauce evaporate and thicken a bit.

Take two forks and simply shred the chicken and mix well with the sauce.

Serve 4 and is syn free

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Nigellas sweet potato macaroni cheese (slimming world friendly )

This is proper comfort food so warming and filling and although its not syn free I have adapted the recipe to keep it as low syn as possible but keeping all the tastiness of the original recipe. The recipe serves 4 but you could easily make it serve 6 if served it with something like Slimming World sausages and vegetables.

Nigellas sweet potato and macaroni cheese

500g sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
300g dried macaroni
2 tbsp cornflour
500ml skimmed milk
1 tub quark
160g reduced fat cheddar cheese (grated)
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Preheat oven gas 6 /200/400. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil and add a tsp or two of salt once boiling add the sweet potato and cook for about 10 minutes then take out the sweet potato with a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl, Keep the water boiling and add the macaroni and stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked but still quite firm then drain in a colander.

Using a fork mash the sweet potato in the bowl till mashed but not pureed. Add the tub of quark, the cooked macaroni and 100g of the grated cheese and mix well.

In a saucepan place the milk and the cornflour and bring to the boil, Keeps whisking all the time until the sauce is thick and cook for a couple of minutes to lose the floury taste. Season with salt and pepper then add to the sweet potato, macaroni and cheese mixture and again mix together very well. Taste for seasoning  (I found it needs quite a lot of salt and pepper. )

Tip it all into a large casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining 60g of grated cheese on top and sprinkle on the quarter tsp paprika,

Place the casserole dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until browned and hot.

Serves 4 at 3.5syns per portion if using the cheese for your Healthy Extra.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Nigellas Pasta alla Bruno (Slimming World friendly)

Now it's a new year I have gone back to my obsession with Nigella Lawsons new book 'Simply Nigella' and adapting some of her recipes to make them Slimming World friendly. This dish is named after her son Bruno if you were wondering why it's called Pasta alla Bruno and was so easy to make it's definitely going on my quick after work dinner list. It is made is under 15 minutes total!

I used penne pasta for this but you could use any small shaped pasta really. The original recipe called for the cherry tomatoes to be quartered and although Nigella I love you I really didn't have time for that so they are halved.

Nigellas Pasta alla Bruno

200g dry pasta (like penne)
6-8 smoked bacon medallions (cut into strips)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (more if you like it hot)
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water according to the instructions and while its cooking start the sauce as it all cooks quite quickly.

Spray a large pan with some of the spray oil and fry the strips of bacon until cooked though then add the garlic, chili flakes and the tomatoes stir well and put the lid on for a few minutes stirring lightly now and then.

When the pasta is almost cooked but still firm take the pasta out of the water with a slotted spoon and put into the bacon and tomatoes taking a little of the pasta water each time this is what helps to make the light sauce.

When all the pasta is in the pan with the bacon and tomatoes  stir well, turn off the heat and put the lid on and leave for five minutes.

Season well with pepper and salt if you need it (might not because of the bacon) .

Serves 2  generously and is Syn free on extra easy

Monday, 4 January 2016

Purplemint restaurant review ...

I was quite recently very lucky to be invited to an evening at Purplemint in Penarth Road Cardiff. My husband and I were excited to visit as we have previously visited their sister restaurants Purple Poppadom and Mint and Mustard both are amazing Indian restaurants.

From the outside it is very unassuming you would easily miss it if you were walking or driving past but inside it is a treasure, Although quite a small venue this makes it feel even more friendly and intimate. The welcome was lovely and the atmosphere very relaxed and then there's the food....

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of all the food we were lucky to sample but everything was so delicious I was really impressed,  We started with various small starters which included some chicken tikka bites which instead of the usual dark orange colour were light with tarragon and coriander and served with a fresh coriander and mint sauce. My husband especially enjoyed the small paneer and pepper kebabs which had been marinated in a garlic and honey marinade before being cooked in a tandoori oven and served with a mango chutney he isn't normally a fan of paneer but cooked this way he thought it was amazing (think I will have to try this at home in the oven). We also sampled the salt and pepper prawns served with a cocktail sauce which were mouthwatering it was hard to stop to make room for the next course.

This was calamari served with a lamb kofta and a tasty sauce made from mustard, lemon and passionfruit. The calamari was everything it should be crisp and the squid tender not chewy and the soft lamb kofta and fruity sauce made everything come together.

I was really impressed by the basket of naan breads (see photo) not your usual enormous slab of dough but light slices of crisp naan bread studded with fruit and chili for the peshwari and the others with my favourite chili, onion, garlic and coriander.

The next course was a lamb rogan josh served with saffron pilau rice and a dish of beautifully stir fried green vegetables with coconut and cashew. The lamb rogan josh was fantastic no oil slick on the surface just a deep flavoursome medium hot curry, the lamb just fell apart it had been so well cooked. It was a lovely change to have the dish of vegetables something which I find is sometimes lacking in Indian food the freshness of the mangetout, broccoli and green beans with the crunch of the cashew nuts was delicious with the warmth of the curry and the fragrant saffron pilau rice.

The dessert was a showstopper, A ramekin of steamed yogurt with rosewater which was creamy but light as well topped with a fresh raspberry and not too sweet. This was served with a quenelle made from semolina and pineapple which again wasn't too sweet or overpowering with a beautiful hazelnut in caramel.

All in all we had a wonderful evening from the warm welcome and everything was cooked beautifully and was tasty and delicous. The prices were all surprisingly very reasonable too for such high quality food.  We will definitely be back and haven't stopped raving about it to friends and family ever since we visited. Well worth a visit if you are ever in Cardiff.