Friday, 25 August 2017

BBQ monkfish skewers (Slimming World friendly)

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a bit of a BBQ fanatic and even though I made these on the BBQ they do very well in the oven or under the grill. When I BBQ or even simply grilling at home one product I often use to add lots of flavour to my meals are BBQ rubs. They add tons of flavour to any simple meat or fish without loads of syns.

 You can make your own and there are lots of recipes online or there are loads on the market ready made my favourites are Quiet Waters Farm rubs  , Angus & Oink   and Countrywoodsmoke (Just click on the words to take you to their websites) Some do contain sugar as well as the spices so need to be counted as syns but as you use only a spoonful for a meal to serve four I usually just count 1/2 syn per portion . For this recipe I used the Quiet Waters Farms 'El Jefe' which is a Mexican style rub that I trialled for them and it was delicious on this recipe. It also means you don't have to worry about seasoning the skewers as it does it all for you.

I use metal skewers which are easy to buy in any supermarket you can use wooden if you like but soak them in water before hand so they don't burn. I love using monkfish on skewers as it's such a firm meaty fish but it is expensive, This recipe means a little goes a long way but you could of course use any firm fleshed fish like cod or even salmon if you prefer.

Skewers are also a great way of getting loads of speed vegetables in your meals. I used peppers and onion here but you can use courgette, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes or any vegetable that doesn't take long to cook. Fish cooks quickly on the BBQ and in the oven so it doesn't take long to make these I often prepare the veg in the morning to make later then you just put it on the skewers.

BBQ Monkfish skewers

500g monkfish (skinless and boneless cut into chunks)
2 peppers (any colour cut into chunks)
1-2  red onions (peeled and cut into quarters and separated into pieces)
1 tbsp BBQ rub (whichever you prefer)
Low calorie spray oil

Place the fish chunks into a large bowl and mix in the BBQ rub then thread the skewers starting with a piece of onion then just add the onions, fish and peppers until the skewer is full finish with a piece of onion. Spray the skewer with a little oil and then BBQ until the fish is cooked and brown vegetables are done this will only take about 10  minutes make sure you turn them halfway through and keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

They also cook just as well under the grill or if using the oven it would be a hot oven Gas 7/ 220/425.

Serve with rice and salad.

Makes 4-6 skewers and count 1 syn per portion.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Beetroot ketchup (Slimming World friendly)

I have seen a few recipes for this around so thought I'd give it a try, I adapted the recipe so it is now sugar free and Slimming World friendly.

 It couldn't be easier to make I used vacuum packed cooked beetroot but of course if you can access fresh beetroot you can cook them beforehand and then make the ketchup but don't use pickled. It's also very good for children who love the purple colour, I try to avoid aspartame as I don't think it's very good for you so I use stevia or splenda for cooking. The onion powder can be bought in most supermarkets it's with the spices.

Beetroot Ketchup

500g cooked beetroot (sliced)
250ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp sweetener (see above)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place everything in a saucepan and bring to the boil, Simmer for 30 minutes and leave to cool slightly. Simply blend in a food processor until smooth. If it's too thick just add a little water until it's the consistency you want.

Keeps for a few weeks in the fridge.

Syn free

Friday, 4 August 2017

Lamb souvlaki (Slimming World friendly)

Nothing beats a kebab and this easy recipe is really tasty and you won't miss the real thing, As long as you use lean lamb leg meat it cooks quickly over the BBQ or grill or even in the oven. Lamb shoulder takes longer so just make sure you buy the right cut of lamb.

This isn't too spicy so it's very family friendly too no one would guess it was Slimming World friendly. At the time of writing you can have a weight watchers white low fat wrap as a healthy extra to serve with this but things change so please check.

If you don't like lamb feel free to use chicken I find thigh meat works better but you can use breast if you prefer.

I served this with a traditional yogurt sauce called tzatziki (recipe below) and a simple cherry tomato and red onion salad.

Lamb Souvlaki

1lb lean diced lamb leg meat
Juice of 1 lemon (or a tbsp from a bottle)
2 cloves garlic (crushed or use garlic paste)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
low calorie spray oil

Simply place the lamb, lemon, garlic and oregano into a large bowl and mix together very well , Add a few sprays of oil and  the salt and pepper and mix again. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

It's best to cook these on metal or wooden skewers but if you don't have these you can grill them on a grill pan so just thread the lamb onto skewers (if using) spray with a little more oil and place on a grill pan and cook under a hot grill until cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. The timings will vary but takes about 15-25 minutes turning them every now and then. Of course the best place to cook these is over a BBQ but we don't always have the weather for that!!

It's ok if the meat is slightly underdone it is safe to eat lamb slightly pink but if you prefer well done just take a little piece off the end to check if cooked through.

This is the sauce I served with the kebabs.


250g fat free natural greek yogurt
1 large cucumber (seeds removed and grated)
1-2 tsp salt

Simply mix together and taste if it needs anymore salt.

All syn free

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Cheesy bacon stuffed potato skins (Slimming World friendly)

These are a really delicious side dish, Makes a change from ordinary baked potatoes and are really easy to make.

I've had similar in restaurants but they are loaded with sour cream which makes them definitely NOT Slimming World friendly! This version gives you all the flavour but none of the fat. If you want them even more cheesy you could even melt your healthy extra cheese over the top.

Cheesy bacon stuffed potato skins

2 large baking potatoes
1/2  a 250g tub Arla garlic and herb quark (or use plain and add some garlic and herbs to it )
4 smoked bacon medallions (cooked and cut into small pieces)
chopped chives or green from spring onions.
low calorie spray oil.
salt and pepper

Wash the potato and while damp sprinkle with lots of salt to help it get a nice crispy skin then cut into it just a little way all around the outside (this helps it break evenly in half after cooking. )

Bake at gas 6/200/400 for about an hour until when lightly squeezed the potato is soft and the skin is crispy them remove from the oven but don't turn the oven off you will need it again in a minute.

Cut in half along where you cut into the potato and using a spoon scrape all the cooked potato into a shallow dish. Add the quark and mash very well with a fork it doesnt have to be smooth some lumps are ok and add texture. Add some salt and pepper and mix again then taste if it needs more seasoning. Mix in the bacon and half of the chives or spring onion greens then refill the potato skins.

Spray the tops with a little spray oil then place back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until the tops are slightly browned.

Sprinkle with the rest of the chives or spring onions.

Serves 2-4 and are syn free