Tag Archives: Low fat

Slow cooker beef curry, Slimming World friendly

13 Aug

Since my last post I have been voted Slimming World Woman of the Year for my group. I am completely overwhelmed and humbled that someone would even think of nominating me. As I stood at the front of group with five other amazing nominees it gave me time to take stock and reflect on my slimming journey and the lovely friends I have shared it with.  Some of my closest friends will know I have had a lifelong battle with my weight.  I weighed in at 9.5 lbs at birth and it was all downhill from there. I think my Father insisting I clear my plate before I could leave the table didn’t help any or that my wonderful, loyal husband flatly denying for forty-three years that my bum  looked big in clothes when I asked, bless him.

As you may have gathered, I love cooking but it wasn’t until I started following Slimming World that I realised just how much fat my food hero chefs used in their recipes.  It has been a challenge to adapt those recipes and, to my absolute amazement, the finished dishes are delicious and much healthier. I admit I am not over keen on the low-calorie spray that is recommended to replace oil and it isn’t always successful for frying some foods, so I often use a normal oil spray but limit the number of sprays and count the Syns. When a recipe is for a few people the individual Syns are negligible so as long as they are counted into my daily allowance it isn’t a problem.

Another great love of mine are cooking gadgets. I have recently invested in a slow cooker and could not wait to try it out. This is my first recipe using it. The curry was bubbling gently away all day and was ready for when I returned from my Group meeting. The house smelled divine and the curry was delicious so a great success.  Here is the recipe. It was adapted from a recipe on BBC Food so that it is Slimming World friendly. By my calculations this works out about two Syns for the whole recipe so only half a Syn if used for four people.

Slow-cooker beef curry                          Serves 4

  • Spray sunflower oil or Frylight
  • 800g/1lb 12oz beef braising steak cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped, plus extra to taste
  • 2.5cm/1in piece fresh root ginger
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 200g/7oz 0% fat Greek natural yogurt
  1. Spray a nonstick frying pan with the oil or Frylight and fry the beef in batches over a medium to high heat until browned all over. This will take about 4 minutes for each pan.  The aim is to sear the meat so don’t overfill the pan. Transfer to the slow-cooker.
  2. Spray the pan again, lower the heat and fry the onions for about 5 minutes until they have softened slightly. Add the chillies, garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes more, then add the spices and fry for 1 more minute. If the pan appears to be drying out add a little water rather than more oil. Transfer to the slow-cooker.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the slow-cooker plus one empty can filled with water. Mix well then cover and cook on a low setting for 8 hours.
  4. Whisk the yogurt in a bowl and add 50 ml of hot water very slowly whisking all the time. This will stop it curdling when you add it to the curry.  Add the yogurt, mixing continually, to the curry. Add the garam masala and season with salt to taste. If you want the curry a little hotter add a little more chilli.  Cook for a further 30 minutes then serve with boiled rice and, if you like, a side salad.

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Baked Sea Bass with a mild curried ratatouille

29 Mar

imageMy inspiration for this recipe was from the menu of one of our favourite restaurants, 15 in Caleta De Fuste in Fuerteventura. There are fifteen main courses on offer, ordered in customer preference. All of the choices are superb but a particular favourite of mine is the sea bass. I tried to recreate the lovely flavours in my own recipe and, whilst there were obvious differences, I was very pleased with my results and will definitely be making this again.

Baked sea bass with a mild curried ratatouille      Serves 2

  • Low calorie spray oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large courgette, quartered lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 50 ml water
  • 100g low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp sweet mango chutney
  • 1 tsp hot curry paste
  • 2 sea bass, descaled, gutted and fins removed
  • juice half a lemon
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 6.
  2. Spray some oil into a nonstick frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic for the last minute.
  3. add the chopped courgette and continue frying gently for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season lightly. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 50ml of water and mix well. Continue cooking until all vegetables are tender.
  4. In the meantime, wash and dry the sea bass. Place in an oven dish. Score each side with a knife and squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and spray with low calorie olive oil. Bake in the oven until cooked through (about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Mix the creme fraiche, mango chutney and curry paste together, adjusting to suit personal taste. Stir into the ratatouille gradually, a spoonful at a time and mix in until you have a creamy consistency (about 3 tbsp). Adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve the sea bass with the ratatouille on the side and some boiled new potatoes if you like.

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Low fat Cottage Pie – really delicious

18 Oct

DSCI0415I seem to have been on a diet all my life and yet I never seem to get any thinner so I have. at long last, decided that I need to eat more healthily and make subtle changes that will see the weight come off gradually.  This recipe is one of many that I love in Judith Wills book ‘Top 200 low-fat recipes’.  Some of the recipe are my most loved dishes and I make them frequently but this was the first time I had tried this one.

So what makes this dish lower in fat and yet taste so good.  Firstly I think it must be because of the addition of some vegetables and baked beans. These not only bulk out the mince but give it a lovely flavour. As I used very leans minced beef this was essential.  She also uses herbs and flavourings to bring all the flavours together. I made a slight change in the herbs I used but it still tasted wonderful.  Finally she has replaced some of the potato with parsnip and has used light mayonnaise and low-fat fromage frais to mash them together instead of butter and cream. You would not believe how tasty the topping was. I think I might use this method of making mash in the future!

Well here is the recipe, only 400 calories for a generous portion.

Cottage pie                                     Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 400g extra lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 200g can baked beans in tomato sauce, lightly mashed down
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • 300 ml beef stock

For the topping

  • 400g old potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp low fat natural fromage frais
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/gas 4.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the beef until browned, breaking it up as you go. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.  In the remaining fat sauté the onion, carrot and celery over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add a little water if it looks as though it is getting too dry.
  3. Return the meat to the pan and mix well. Add the beans, tomato puree, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and stock.  Mix together really well then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if it looks too dry and is sticking to the pan.
  4. Meanwhile make the topping. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and parsnips and simmer until tender. Drain. Mash them with the mayonnaise and fromage frais, season to taste them mash again. If the potato seems too dry add a little skimmed milk.
  5. when the meat is cooked, adjust seasoning if necessary then pour into a shallow oven dish.  Put the potato mix on top and smooth out then sprinkle with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling underneath.

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