Monday, 1 September 2014

Recipe: Slimming World Potato Rösti

A deliciously light and tasty Slimming World breakfast. A potato rosti is a form of potato pancake and goes so perfectly with a runny poached egg.   I also served it with salad and cooked mushrooms to up my superfree!

You will need:-

800g Desirée potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 spring onions, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
A small handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 large British Lion egg, lightly beaten
Low calorie cooking spray
450g vine cherry tomatoes
For the topping:
2 eggs
150g baby spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5. Place the potatoes in a clean tea towel. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, repeat with a fresh tea towel, then place in a mixing bowl and season.
Add the spring onions, garlic, dill and egg. Combine all the ingredients using your hands and divide into four portions.

Place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and spray with low calorie cooking spray. Spoon one portion of potato mixture into the pan and press down with a spatula. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, then transfer to a large non-stick baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining three rösti portions, then cook all four in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes on a baking tray, spray with low calorie cooking spray and roast for 10-12 minutes.

Bring a large pan of water to a simmer and carefully break each egg into it. Poach over a low heat of 4-5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on some kitchen paper.
Spray a large, non-stick frying pan with low calorie cooking spray. 

Add the spinach and garlic, then stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is just wilted. Season well and remove from the heat.

Place each rösti on a serving plate. Top with spinach, an egg and a sprinkling of black pepper, the serve with the vine tomatoes.

Read the original recipe here

L x

Week 9 Weigh in

I haven't done very well this week.  After last weeks success of hitting 12kg I haven't kept it up as much.   I have been careful with my syns but on Friday night I went out drinking without counting any syns, so god knows what I consumed!  I also shared a bottle of Prosecco with my friend on Sunday too! I weighed myself mid week and I had put on 1kg (2lbs) and I put this down to having so much to eat last weekend, especially the milk toffee I made!!  Here are some of the meals I have eaten this week.

So after putting on 1kg in the week I wasn't hopefully...but I actually lost 0.2kg, so if I really had put on 1kg that is actually pretty good going!
Loss This Week- 0.2kg (0.4lbs)

Total Loss So Far- 12.2kg (1.92 stone)

L x

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review: Byron Burger

Byron Burger is a London based burger chain that has been open since 2007.  It's newest venture was to open a restaurant in the South West, and what better place to go than the middle of the Princesshay Shopping area in Exeter.  Exeter already boasts a booming gourmet burger trade with 3 very popular burger restaurants, Ruby, Urban Burger and Hubbox. While this may seem like a good area to open up, Byron also faces extreme competition from the already established burger bars, all of which have earned 5 star rating from me.  Nick and we invited along for a meal on Byron to review Exeter's newest offering.

It probably has the best available plot for a restaurant, in the middle of the cities big shopping area.  It is a massive building and there is also seating available outside while the weather is still nice.

At first look at the menu it was very underwhelming.  They pride themselves on the best Scottish meat cooked freshly, and keep their menu simple- a little too simple I think!  A plain hamburger with lettuce and tomato is £6.75, you then have to pay for any sides on top.  The menu offers a plain burger, a burger with cheese, a burger with cheese and bacon, a burger with chillies, chicken burger, veggie burger and some salads (where is the pulled pork or variety of different burgers on offer!) I get simple, but in my opinion this menu is a little lazy.  They do offer a special burger every month which is a little more exciting!  Currently the Ronaldo, two 6oz hamburgers, crispy smoked bacon, American cheese, buttered onions, crispy fried onions, pickles, American mustard and ketchup, £12.95 for the burger alone!

We started off with some milkshakes, Strawberry for Nick and Oreo (yes Oreo!) for me.  This was amazing, super thick and super creamy!  It was heaven, and also served in a massive cup! Only downside is that it is very filling!

When we ordered our burgers we were told "Just to let you know, guys, the burgers will come medium, so they'll be a little pink inside, is that alright?" Apparently we had no choice!  We ordered a burger each and decided to share our sides.   I went for a burger with blue cheese.  It really was what it said on the tin, a burger with a slab of blue cheese and some salad, with nothing else.   The flavour of the burger was just very plain.  I can't say that it was unpleasant, just a little boring and something you would expect of a Weatheerspoons (although he Weatherspoons don't charge anywhere near the price of this burger on it's own!)

Once the salad was removed from the burger it does not look that appetising!

Nick went for a Chilli Burger- Green chilli, American cheese, shredded iceberg and chipotle mayonnaise.  Nick is a lover of spice so was looking forward to this, even though there was no heat warning on the menu.   When it came he opened the bun to take out his tomato, licked his finger and could taste pure heat. After a few mouthfuls Nick was in pure pain and decided that the rest of the burger was simply inedible due to the amount of spice that had been used.  I tried a piece of lettuce and my mouth was on fire for about 10 minutes, and no amount of delicious milkshake could  help!  We understand that it is a chilli burger, but this resembled something from a Man v Food spice challenge "finish it to win a prize!" except there was no prize, just pain.

For our sides we chose the classic French fries and some macaroni cheese.  The fries were good, pretty standard.  The macaroni cheese was very mediocre, plain and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a packet sauce. 

I had a lengthy discussion with the manager after our meals, who rightly pointed out that it was only the second week it had been open, so there may be teething problems.  He said the chilli burger should;'nt be as hot as it was, but as they use fresh chillies they are hotter than Jalapeños.  I explained to him about how high the current standard in Exeter for burgers are, and he said he wasn't aware yet.  While I do not usually comment on price, I feel that I have to here. Our bill would have come to £32.10, and I have to say that it really wasn't good value for money for what was served to us. If you are going to charge London prices, the quality of the meal really needs to match up to it, and sadly this meal didn't.  The manager insisted that he would take my comments on board, and for Byron to survive up against our current, independent, gourmet burger restaurants we already have here. 

Food **  Service ***** Atmosphere ****

L x

Recipe: Giant Stuffed Pasta Shells

I saw the giant pasta shells when we were out doing the shopping and instantly thought of this recipe. It is really easy to make and totally delicious!  If using the cheese as a healthy extra the dish is syn free!

You will need:-

1 Bag fresh Spinach
500g Extra lean minced beef
5 tbsp Quark
1 large onions, chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 pack jumbo pasta shells
2 cartons of passata
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60g extra light cheese 
1 tsp basil


In a frying pan add the onions, half the garlic and fry until the onion is cooked. 

Add the minced beef and fry until cooked. 

Cook the pasta shells following the pack instructions, but leave still slightly firm to the bite. 

Add the quark to the mince and stir through until blended together.   Leave the mixture to cool slightly. 

Mix the passata with the basil, salt, pepper and garlic ready to go on top of the pasta.

Once the mince mixture has cooled stuff each individual shell and place in a large oven dish. 

Pour the passata over the top and sprinkle with cheese.  Cook in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins until the cheese has melted and the pasta shells are soft and cooked through. 

L x

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review: Lake District Co. Quark

The Lake District Dairy Co. is one of the UK’s most recognisable British dairy brands with a range of award winning cheddars. The full range is owned and produced by First Milk, the UK’s only 100% British farmer owned dairy business.

They also offer Quark- A naturally fat free dairy ingredient that is versatile, providing the perfect ingredient to the health concious baker or cook. This smooth creamy soft cheese is available in 3 flavours- original, lemon and vanilla and is a great alternative to cream cheese, Crème fraîche, or mascarpone. This 'wonder ingredient' is high in protein, naturally fat free and low in salt and sugar, great for mixing baking and cooking.  Anyone on Slimming World knows that Quark is something that you need in your fridge at all times!   It is so so versatile and can be used in sauces and pretty much every meal. 

Here are some recipes delicious Quark Based Recipes:-

Such a versatile and essential ingredient, whether you are on a diet or not.  Every time I do a shop this is one of the things on the top of my list.  Lake District Quark is available from all leading supermarkets.  The lemon flavour is great used in a cheesecake recipe, and the vanilla can be used with fruit or in the Eaton Mess, I love them!

L x

Monday, 25 August 2014

Recipe: Slimming World Chicken Katsu Curry

Katsu is a Japanese method of breadcrumbing chicken and a chicken katsu curry is usually served with a lovely curry sauce and rice.  Without food optimising this can set you back upwards of 30 syns!  For this Slimming World version it is syn free if using wholemeal breadcrumbs as a healthy extra b (6 syns if you're not!)

You will need:-

4 skinless chicken breasts
240g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp sweetener
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 litre chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp fat free fromage frais
Low calorie cooking spray


Spray a large heavy-based saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 minutes or until the onion is softened. 

Add the carrots and courgette and lightly fry for a further 4-5 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and sweetener and evenly coat the vegetables. Add the stock, soy sauce and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place each chicken breast in some clingfilm and flatten with a rolling pin or meat tenderiser. 

Remove the clingfilm and dip the chicken in the egg, then coat with breadcrumbs and place on a baking tray sprayed with low-calorie cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

For the sauce remove the bay leaf and pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender. Blitz until it becomes a thick, smooth sauce and stir in the fromage frais.

To serve slice the chicken breast into pieces, spoon over the curry sauce and serve with steamed rice.

Recipe adapted from the Slimming World Website

L x

Week 8 Weigh In

This week was a little different as I scrimped and saved as many syns as I could to use at the weekend. I cooked a special Sri Lankan meal and may of had a few bits of homemade milk toffee!  I also set myself a mini target of 12kg.  We decided that when I hit this target we can start planning a little mini trip to bath because I desperately want to try out the Thermae Bath Spa.

Here is some of what I have eaten this week, I was good all week but went in pretty hard this weekend!

Sri Lankan Curry

Chicken in Palma Ham

Baked fry up

Stuffed Superfree mushrooms

Lamb Kebabs

I was really disappointing to see that I had only lost 0.7kg, but not surprised.  Downside of having a weigh in on a Monday is that there isn't much time to recover from the weekend. But, when I entered my weight onto the Slimming World website, feeling deflated, I realised that 0.7 was actually all I needed to hit the 12kg mark!

Soon I will be getting pampered and relaxing in this beautiful spa!

Loss This Week- 0.7kg (1.5lbs)  

Total Loss So Far- 12 kg (1.8 stone)

L x