Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Vimto braised red cabbage

This red cabbage recipe has recently become  favourite of mine for a Sunday dinner, I took the idea from the Manchester restaurant 'The Refuge' where I went with my family for Sunday lunch when visiting my daughter. It was delicious and I thought I could replicate the recipe at home so had a try and it was very popular.

It's really easy and just looks after itself in the oven and I have also made it in my pressure king pro and I might see how it does in a slow cooker too. I think I'll definitely be making it for Christmas dinner. It is also a great dish to make ahead of time as it reheats really well and you can freeze it too which I certainly be doing on Christmas Day!

Vimto braised red cabbage

1 red cabbage (core removed and sliced thinly)
1 large onion (chopped)
50ml sugar free vimto (not diluted )
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Place everything in an ovenproof casserole mix well and cover with lid. ( If you don't have a lid a piece of foil tightly placed over the dish will be ok) then place in the oven at Gas 2/150/300 for 2 hours stirring every now and then.

Remove from the oven and taste it might need a little more balsamic and salt and pepper.

Syn free

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Celery soup (Slimming World friendly)

It's definitely soup weather and this time of year I tend to take soup for my lunch every day for work. I bought one of those plastic soup bowls with the vented lids it makes it really easy to reheat in the microwave at work.

When I make this soup I keep it in a big plastic jug with a lid on in the fridge it keeps for about 5-7 days in the fridge. I often have some when I get in from work too while waiting for dinner to stop me picking. It freezes well too I freeze in those 'pour & store' bags pick them up from ASDA or home bargains.

Celery Soup

1 bunch celery (with leaves if possible just chopped roughly)
3-4 spring onions (chopped or a ordinary onion chopped)
2 large potatoes (diced no need to peel)
3 pints vegetable stock (from a cube or stockpot is fine)
2 tsp sage
low calorie spray oil
salt and pepper

Spray a large saucepan with the spray oil and add the celery, spring onions and potatoes, Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and fry gently over a low heat for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften lightly but not brown. Just add a splash or two of water if they start to stick.

Add the sage and stock and bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Blend the soup either with a hand blender in the pan (the easiest way) or transfer to a food processor or liquidiser and blend in batches.

Add salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper in this soup)

You can also make this in the slow cooker by putting it all in together and cooking on low for 6-8 hours or in a pressure cooker using the manufacturers instructions.

Syn free and serves 4-6

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Slow cooker old fashioned beef stew (Slimming World friendly)

Winter is here and I love making soups and stews and this one is so easy to make in the slow cooker. It's old fashioned in that it's just the meat and vegetables with some thyme and salt and pepper nothing fancy needed here.

I think it is important to brown the meat and soften the vegetables slightly before they go in the slow cooker as I think it improves the flavour but if you are in a hurry you can just throw it all in and it will still be good.

Slow cooker old fashioned beef stew

800g lean diced beef
4 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks or slices)
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
2 large potatoes (peeled if you want to and diced)
2 beef stockpots or stock cubes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cornflour
salt and pepper
low calorie spray oil

Spray a large frying pan with the low calorie spray oil and over a medium heat gently fry the onions, carrots and celery for a few minutes until they begin to soften slightly but not brown (I usually sprinkle with a little salt to help them soften) if they begin to stick just add a little water. Place them into your slow cooker.

Pat the beef dry with kitchen roll then spray the frying pan again and add the beef in batches and fry till slightly brown then add to the slow cooker or casserole dish.

Add the potatoes, thyme, stockpots and a tsp each of salt and pepper. Add water to just cover the meat and vegetables stir well and then cook on low in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.

At the end of the cooking remove the lid , stir well and turn the heat up to high in the slow cooker, In a small cup add a little cold water to the cornflour mix until smooth then stir this into the stew and stir well. Cook on high for another 15-20 minutes till it bubbles and gets a little thicker. Taste now as it will probably need some more salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6  and is less than 1 syn per portion.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Chinese chicken and mushrooms in oyster sauce (Slimming World friendly)

I love Chinese takeaways but they can be really high in syns, This recipe means you can have all the flavour with hardly any syns.

You can find all the ingredients in any supermarket usually with all the stir fry sauces, they aren't expensive and don't worry oyster sauce doesn't taste fishy it just gives a lovely savoury flavour to the sauce. I use frozen ginger and garlic paste which is syn free or you could some paste from a jar but check as some have syns but served between four people it wouldn't be much.

I served this with loads of stir fry vegetables for lots of speed as well as some noodles. I used chicken thighs for this as I prefer the flavour but feel free to use chicken breast if you'd rather.

Chinese chicken and mushrooms in oyster sauce

500g chicken thighs (skinless, boneless and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 large onion (sliced)
250g sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
50ml oyster sauce
150ml light soy sauce
100ml water
1 tbsp cornflour
low calorie spray oil

Spray a wok or large deep frying pan lightly with the spray oil and add the onions and the ginger and garlic paste, Stir fry over a medium heat until the onion starts to soften then add the chicken and turn the heat up a little and stir fry for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken has started to brown.

Add the mushrooms, keep stir frying and meanwhile take a  jug  and add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and water and mix well.

Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the chicken mixture and keep stir frying over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Put the cornflour in a small dish and add 2 tbsp cold water and mix till smooth then add to the wok and keep stir frying  for a few more minutes till the sauce has thickened.

Serves 4 and is less than 1 syn each.