Friday, 21 August 2015

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Recipe- Slimming World Friendly Smoky BBQ Chilli Cheese Chips


Extra Easy syn value:- Syn free

Healthy Extras:- A 

I asked if you wanted the recipe...lots of you said yes!

A slight twist on a normal chilli, this melted cheesey sensation has an added smoky taste.  I used extra light mozzerella as my healthy extra A to make this syn free!  Remember to measure the right amounts out though!

You will need:- 

Low calorie cooking spray
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 level tbsp tomato purée
300ml beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
200g can red kidney beans
400g medium sized Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped to chips
40g extra light mozerella per person- make sure you seperare each portion!


Method:-

Spray a large saucepan with low calorie cooking spray and fry off the onions gently over a low heat for 6-8 minutes. Add the mince and stir fry for 5-6 minutes.

Add the garlic, chillies and all the spices and continue frying, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes to the mince with tomato purée and stock. Stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced.
Season with salt and pepper and the drained kidney beans. Heat through gently for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile par boil the chips for 4 mins, when cooked remove and place on paper towels to dry off.  Put back in the saucepan and shake to rough them up.

Spray a metal baking tray with low calorie cooking spray. Transfer the chips to the tray, spray lightly with low calorie cooking spray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides.

Put the chips in an oven proof dish and top with chilli then cheese.  Place under the grill for 2-3 minutes util cheese is melted and gooey!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Too Fat to Run?

I've always said that I'm not made to run.  I love cycling, swimming and even spinning!  But running has always seemed like a challenge to me - I always came last in PE at school and I'm emotionally scarred from cross country running!

In adult life I attempted a charity 5k run, I didn’t train as much as I should've done and ended up falling and twisting my ankle shortly after the start. It was a complete fail from start to finish. Despite all that, I love a challenge and to sussessfully complete a 5k run and not come last would be a great achievement!  When I heard that Julie at Too fat To Run was looking for some bloggers to go on a journey of discovery with her and become the first set of official bloggers, I immediadtely put myself forward.  Her page is an amazing source of support and information for complete novices like me and I soon found myself reading through the blog. I was shocked to be selected as one of the 10 bloggers and I officially join the clubhouse as of 1st September!

The Clubhouse is a virtual running club specifically designed for plus sized runners of all abilities. It costs just £10 a month and includs weekly training sessions, monthly themed fitness challenges, online support, webinars and discounts plus lots more. So if you want to be more accountable in your running and have support from women just like you, why not sign up now by clicking here.

So my journey soon begins!  To read about all the other fab bloggers check out the TFTR blog post here


L x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Review: Circa1924

For many years Harry’s grill bar has been hailed as the best steakhouse in Exeter, and firmly cemented it’s reputation in the centre of the city.  It was to my surprise when I heard that it was no more, being replaced by Circa1924; I was intrigued to try it out!  Circa1924 was created by two local guys, James and Rob. According to the website they "both love good food and a great drink" - Definitely something that I can relate to!

"After both spending time living away from the area, we couldn't help but notice that our hometown needs to recapture it's culinary soul. There are too many chains and not enough good independents. We want to be the place to eat in Exeter. Our Exeter restaurant is a 1920s inspired steak & seafood house with a rustic speakeasy cocktail bar. Being based in Devon, we are lucky to be inundated with fantastic local produce - we pride ourselves on serving a simple, seasonal menu with the best ingredients available."


As the previous location for one of Exeter's few independents I was glad to read that this was a theme that the new owners wished to continue, as well as being passionate about quality and trying to source ingredients as locally as possible.  When I had a look at their menu I was instantly attracted by their vast selection of cocktails, many a twist on a classic, and a few that I had never heard of before!  Their menu still retains some similarities to Harry's, most notable the 2 people sharing steak the Chateaubriand!

We arrived and were greeted by one of the mixologists at the bar.  I really liked the atmosphere from
the minute we walked in; relaxed and really in keeping with the rustic speakeasy cocktail bar theme.  There was plenty of bare wood and bulbs and plenty of seating downstairs in a really relaxing environment.  We decided to go for some cocktails to start, after much deliberation!  I went for a SEXY G & T - Plymouth Gin, Benedictine, Lavender Syrup, and Fever Tree Tonic where Nick chose a GRAPEFRUIT COSMO - Stolichnaya Citros vodka, Cointreau, Lime Juice, and Grapefruit Juice.  Both were presented incredibly and I loved the sprig of lavender pegged to my glass!  I have had many many G&Ts in my time and it was great to have a twist on a classic.  Nick enjoyed his, so much that he had a 2nd!

After enjoying our drinks we set off upstairs to sample their food.  Sadly we are not great fans of fish so couldn't test it as much as I feel we should have! There is a big selection of Oysters, mussels and prawns as well as a fish of the day.   There are some great sharing bowls that are perfect for fish
Ceaser Salad with prawns
lovers, but Nick was a little upset that calamari was not offered as a starter on it's own! I chose a ceaser salad with the topping of the day, which was King Prawn.  While there isn't much that can go wrong with a ceaser salad, I have to say that this is one of the nicest salads I have eaten at a restaurant! There was just the right balance of dressing, salad and topping and just the right amount of food for a light starter.  The prawns actually worked really well with the dish and instead of the traditional crouton there was crisp bread on the side.

Peanut chicken Skewers
Nick went for a spicy Peanut Chicken with a rice noodle salad.  Served beautifully on a slate board and bowl it was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth!  The chicken was cooked beautifully with a nice kick to it and the salad was delicious and somewhat refreshing.

For main I couldn’t resist trying the Duck & Mac- crispy local duck breast in a spicy glaze served with mac & cheese and pak choi.  Duck isn't usually something that I would go for as I always worry that it will be too fatty for my taste but I decided to put them to the test!  The breast itself was cooked beautifully, crispy skin and rare in the middle.  The mac & cheese was incredible- nice to see a restaurant apparently make it themselves instead of using a packet! I really enjoyed the whole dish and would definitely come back to eat here again based just on that!

Delicious Mac 'n Cheese!

Nick's Steak
Nick went for a ribeye steak and requested medium rare, but it came very rare!  This isn’t an issue for Nick as he likes rare meat, however I know a lot of people can’t cope with rare meat. We didn’t send it back as he was happy to eat it and he enjoyed it.  He said that it was a little fatty, as expected with that cut of meat, but the fat is where the flavour is.  He had it with peppercorn sauce, triple cooked chips and a crab side to make a surf and turf!  The chips were perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.  The peppercorn sauce was nice but for my personal taste it was a little runny and wasn’t peppery enough!  There was a depth of flavours, one of which I couldn’t identify but was quite similar to aniseed?  Just not to my personal taste.

Crab side for a surf & turf
We were so full after our meals that we couldn’t even contemplate dessert!  Something I have regretted since, but am more than happy to go back and try!  The service was quick and all the staff were very attentive.   My only criticism is that the steak was not cooked as requested although I’m sure if we had raised this to them it would have been quickly resolved.  I never thought about going to Harry’s Grill bar for anything other than a meal, but the environment, atmosphere as well as quality of cocktails here mean I would happily spend an evening sampling every cocktail on the menu with my friends!  Visit their websie here



For your chance of winning a meal for 2 at Circa1924, enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Featuring-

Basement Jaxx (DJ set)
Wretch 32
Stormzy
Friend Within
Zed Bias presents Madd Again Soundsystem
Kokiri
+ many more acts to be announced. 
This will be an outdoor event, with music, food, drinks & all manner of festival goodness. Plus a massive video wall and an incredible light & sound show, featuring no less than 6 headliners, inc. seminal UK house act, Basement Jaxx- Exeter has never experienced anything quite like this! 
Sugar Pink Food readers can buy their tickets using this link - giving an amazing £7 discount! Featuring
Basement Jaxx (DJ set)
Wretch 32
Stormzy
Friend Within
Zed Bias presents Madd Again Soundsystem
Kokiri
+ many more acts to be announced. 
This will be an outdoor event, with music, food, drinks & all manner of festival goodness. Plus a massive video wall and an incredible light & sound show, featuring no less than 6 headliners, inc. seminal UK house act, Basement Jaxx- Exeter has never experienced anything quite like this.
A selection of great local food producers offering their delicious food combined with musical delights including, Basement Jaxx, Wretch 32 and Stormzy, gives the perfect festival experience on your doorstep! 
* Tickets are on sale now and selling fast BUT Sugar Pink Food readers are able to buy tickets with this special link, giving them £7 off each ticket!! - https://goo.gl/uJv9mk *
Hope to see you there!!

All press enquiries;
Aaron Hornibrook-  HYPERLINK mailto:aaron@holditdown.org
aaron@holditdown.org 07771 844975

Facebook event page-  HYPERLINK https://www.facebook.com/events/759225220863508

For more info on HiD events just visit their Facebook page-  "https://www.facebook.com/holditdown.org

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Recipe: Syn Free Fake Steak Bakes and Cheese & Onion Bakes

I've seen people posting photos of these steak bakes all over forums and Facebook groups for a while, so tried making some for myself. There are so many sources I have no idea which the origin is! The original recipe requires the use of tinned stewing steak. I bought some but the second I opened the tin it just reminded me of the food I feed my dog, I was nearly sick.  That's when I decided that instead I would take the idea but make my own, non dog food like fillings! 1 slice is free when using the bread as a HEB. The filling can be bunged in the slow cooker all day, or in the oven. Scroll down to the bottom for the cheese & onion bakes!


Extra easy syn value:- 1 Slice is free

Healthy Extras:- B

You will need:-

1 pack Kingsmill Wholemeal thins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
large handful of chopped mushrooms
4 stewing steaks, a fat removed
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 carrot, sliced
1 large red onion
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
2 potatoes, diced
Low calorie cooking spray
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
200ml beef stock
4tbsp passata
1 egg, beaten 

Method:-

Place all ingredients (except the thins!) in a slow cooked, cook on low for 6 hours. Alternatively cook up in the oven for an hour until filling cooked

Allow to cool slightly. Place mixture inside a thin and brush egg on each corner of thin and press to seal. 

Brush all over with egg and bake for 10-15 mins on a medium heat. 

Keep in the fridge for up to one wee.

Cheese & Onion Bakes 

Extra Easy syn value- 1 Slice Free 

Healthy extras:- A &  B

Because I enjoyed my fake steak bake so much I decided to try other fillings

as well! This is a great veggie option that is delicious hot or cold. 1 slice counts as BOTH your healthy extras, so be careful not to have more than one! Is perfect to make at the weekend for lunches and super filling with a big speed salad.

You will need:-


1 pack kingsmill thins
250g baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
40g light mature cheddar PER SLICE
pinch cayenne pepper
large bunch spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg, beaten
Cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt & pepper


Method:-

Boil the potatoes for 5-10 mins until cooked through

Mash until completely smooth. Add the caynne, spring onions, salt and pepper and tomatoes and mix.

Spoon the mixture into each thin leaving a gap to seal at the sides, sprinkle 40g of light chees into each slice. Brush the edges with beaten egg to seal and then press the top slice down on the bottom

Brush with egg again and bake in the oven for 10-15 mins on a medium heat, or until cheese has melted and tops have crisped

L x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars!

So... I created these salted caramel apple crumble cheesecake bars! They taste incredible! The best bit? According to my calculations it will cost you less syns than a Cadbury chocolate bar.

  • This recipe made 8 bars
  • By using Quark as well as sweetener and light butter, you save 1329 Calories!
  • Sugar free salted caramel recipe here


Extra easy syn value:- 9

Healthy Extras:- B

You will need:- 


Crust
1 pack low fat digestives
40 g extra light butter,  melted

Cheesecake 
40g extra light butter
2 x 12g sachet powdered gelatine 
4 x 175g pots Mullerlight Vanilla yoghurt 
2tsp vanilla extract 
2 tubs quark 
2tbsp sweetener
1 egg

Topping
35g porridge oats, per slice as a healthy B
2 Apples finely sliced

Salted Caramel Sauce
recipe here
(2 syns per tbsp) 
Method:- 

Line a loaf tin with clingfilm

Crush the biscuits and mix with melted butter to form base. Use to line the tin and press down. Leave to set. 

Meanwhile, use an electric food mixer (not a food processor) or hand whisk to beat Quark, butter and egg until smooth. Add the gelatine. 

Spread the cheesecake mixture over the top of the base and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set

Chop the apples and place on top, sprinkle with 35g on each slice as  a HEB. Drizzle work salted caramel saucesauce (1 tbsp per slice) 

L x