Friday, 31 December 2010

Day 1 - Chili, with garlic prawns to start

So, perhaps we'll try a bit of something different here; I'll post the recipes as well as logging some of what we eat.

Extra Easy, all food free.

Garlic prawns

Prawns - raw if you can get them
Garlic (as much as you want)

Salad - we used rocket, baby plum tomatoes, spring onions, and cucumber. All you do is gently heat the garlic in a nonstick pan with low-calorie cooking spray, add the prawns and toss them til they are cooked through. Serve over the salad.


Diced stewing beef, all fat trimmed away
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
2 medium courgettes
2 onions
as much garlic as you like
1 tin of tomatoes
1 carton of black beans
1 dried posilla chile
Ground cumin
Ground ancho powder
Ground chipotle powder
Mexican oregano
Kallo organic beef stock cube
salt and black pepper

Brown rice, to serve
Nonfat yogurt (we like Total 0%), to serve
Chopped spring or sweet onions, to serve

I made this using our slow cooker - in which case, put two cans of tomatoes in to keep it moist. Anyway, whichever you do, everything starts like this:

Brown the meat thoroughly in a large pan using cooking oil spray, and add the sliced onion and garlic, allowing them to brown and soften thoroughly. When that's happened, add the stock cube, cinnamon and a tiny splash of water to make a paste so all the beef is covered. It's optional but I find it helps the whole dish. Your call though :)

When that's done you either go for the slow cooker - in which case, arrange all your veg (peppers, courgettes, and beans) in the bottom of the dish, pouring one can of tomatoes over them and then adding the spices and giving it all a stir. Then, spoon over the meat and onions, add the dried chile and the final can of tomatoes, and set it off to cook to your requirements in the slow cooker - I did mine yesterday over about 8 hours on medium, with Chris turning it to low for the last hour or two.

If you're not slow cooking it, add the peppers and courgettes, pop the lid on and allow them to cook down. When everything is softened add the spices, the (1) can of tomatoes and the beans and dried chile, turn it down to simmer and leave it to bubble away til you're ready.

Serve over brown rice with yogurt and chopped onions on top.

I haven't given quantities because nothing needs to be measured on the Extra Easy plan but of course, you know, exercise your judgement ;)

New Year, New Plan?

I have been quiet recently; it's not because I've not been eating (au contraire!), but because actually...we've been really struggling with the new Weight Watchers plan and as a consequence have been eating the same things over and over. Without going into prolonged detail, it's just not suiting us at all - I feel that I can't actually eat enough of the healthy foods that I need to eat to feel well without going over my Points, because once you get into it it's actually quite restrictive.


So, last night, we buckled up and went back to Slimming World. It has been years since I have been to a meeting; I went a few times some years ago and as I have said before, I couldn't get on with the old Red and Green malarkey at all. However, the plan has changed considerably and seems to tie in quite well with what the nutritionist said when I saw her a few weeks ago, about needing to eat a certain amount of a certain type of food to make everything work properly.

So far, as far as I can see, all lean meat and fish, offal and shellfish are free, along with all fruit, veg, pulses, nonfat dairy/eggs (so things like quark and fat free yogurt) and things like pasta/rice/cous cous. Oh and Quorn and tofu. Bread and porridge/cereal are dietary supplements rather than staples and are consumed in very small portions as a healthy extra; likewise milk. That is genuinely about it. You can apparently eat naughty things but you count them and you don't get much allowance for it - I guess because you're already full of steak and chickpeas? Heh. Anyway...I think it might be a good one for us. Looking back at so many of my recipes on here, they're classed as free on Slimming World and so I think it might be a bit easier to stick to.

Listen, we are keeping an open mind eh...five months time and we're on our honeymoon so some of this extra padding needs to be dropped before we're in Disneyworld in June! :)

I shall keep you all informed. Perhaps being public about what we eat might motivate me a bit - recipes included, naturally.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Happy soup, with Goat Floats

Okay so...I may not have mentioned it, but I am slightly obsessed with all things goaty. Discovering this week that we had a FANTASTIC cheese shop very close by (we've not lived here that long, give us chance!)...well. I know I'm on WW but come on, it's Christmas. Nearly. Ish. And I had good reason; Chris asked me this year for "stuff to put in his mouth", since we're keeping things low budget because of the wedding, so I'm making him a teeny little hamper, and cheese is one of his most favourite things, so of course, that was where I ended up.

Anyway, having made the order to pick things up next week, I was all set to leave when I spotted...drumroll please...some Ragstone, and some Golden Cross goats' cheese. The Golden Cross SOMEHOW found its way into my bag and I've fallen in love all over again with the deliciousness of All Things Goat. So, without further it is.

You need:

About 40g of goats' butter (this is quite important).
1 big leek, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
1 big Bramley apple, chopped up (peel it too)
1 good thumb of grated ginger
1 tsp Lebanese 7-spice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
5 parsnips (that was how many I had) peeled and chopped
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
and then stock to cover; I used a bit of Marigold.

Just sweat off the onion, leek, apple, garlic and ginger in the butter til it's soft and gorgeous. Add the parsnip and celeriac and spices, turn in the butter for a moment, and then add the stock, cover and leave to simmer. Blend it til smooth and add a generous tablespoon or two of Total 0% yogurt to loosen it to the desired consistency.

Add some finely sliced Goat Floats (slices of beautiful goats' cheese) to taste and ENJOY!!

Oh and if I don't say it before...happy Christmas :)